Of course, her dad famously cancelled catering service in the middle of the Apocalypse Now shoot with his famous remark, “Let them eat Filippino deli!”
The Assassinated Press
'Marie Antoinette': Film Noir For 13 Years Olds:
Keep That Lens Out Of Focus; Coppola Imagines Herself As The 14 Year Old Antoinette:
Coppola Reprises Golden Era Of Hollywood When Historical Accuracy Was For Chumps:
Pink Sneaker Revisionism: At The Washington Post Only Oliver Stone And Movies That Question the Status Quo Are Not Allowed To Take Liberties With The Historical Record:
Official Washington, Media Relate To Film About Embattled Royalty; Antoinette Finds Sympathetic Audience Among Washington’s Murdering Power Elite:
I Mean, If The Washington Post Reviewer Admits That The Film Is More About Coppola Than Marie Antoinette Then Why The Fuck Does She Then Try To Defend The Film On Historical Grounds:
By ANNE KWEENIE HORNYTOAD
Assassinated Press Staff Writer
October 20, 2006
UPTOWN THEATER, SATAN'S ANUS, WASH. DC---Have you heard about "Marie Antoinette"? I hadn’t. Apparently, she was a teenaged tart, a French Valley Girl, who because she liked sequined designer jeans and made fun of her chauffeur ended up on the wrong end of ‘j’accuse’ with her 100,000 franc do in a basket with her head attached. Will the persecution of the rich never cease?
If you followed the news from Cannes, you know Sofia Coppola's movie about the legendary French queen was booed at that storied proving ground. The Web is abuzz with detractors who accuse Coppola, ignoring the copious history, of confecting a spiritually bereft, apolitical spectacle of conspicuous consumption. Of indulging her own appetite for fashion, pop culture and high style. Perhaps most unforgivably, of being Sofia Coppola. So what if they’re right. This is not about ‘right’. This is about art. And more importantly the self-esteem of every ego-ridden, scatter brained, materialistic, spoiled little white girl in America.
Having now seen "Marie Antoinette" with expectations suitably managed, the royal we have 8 words for the historians: History is what the kings say it is.
The movie is based on Antonia Fraser’s biography, a hagiographer that, much like Coppola and the people at the Washington Post, made quite a handsome living rendering thieves and murderers palatable to her readers.
It turns out that "Marie Antoinette" may be the most fascinating cinematic Rorschach test since a naked Bruce Willis sat down on a white linen table cloth without wiping in Die Hard VI: Montezuma's Revenge. With teen aged film noir films like "The Virgin Suicides" and "Lost in Translation," Coppola proved to be a gifted conformist with the usual talent for manipulating mood and atmosphere and finding an emotional truth that only little white girls and their neurotic equivalents at the Post can relate too, and certainly no one would have called those films particularly deep. All I could think while watching ‘The Virgin Suicides’ was Holy Shit! What a waste of perfectly serviceable pussy.
With "Marie Antoinette," she has delivered a richly textured, swiftly moving and surprisingly insightful story that resonates no deeper than just the occasional glimpse of a Converse peeking out from the chintz or snippet of a Gang of Four song. With its creative pachinko machine of anachronisms and ultra-hip, shopping mall sensibility, "Marie Antoinette" is sure to polarize viewers who will either decry the fact that she takes liberties Charleton Heston never dared not even in the Ten Commandments or love Coppola's irrelevant but timely revisionism even as the U.S. finds it necessary to abandon democracy and support more and more monarchies around the world to maintain hegemony. This is a real vote of confidence for that saucy little trophy wife of the King of Jordan. Did you catch her highness on Oprah? Let them eat their egalitarianism. Equality is one fucking boring booking.
By turns riotously giddy while the starving riot in the streets below and supremely serene, as serene as a headless corpse, "Marie Antoinette" dispenses with the vague masturbatory reveries that characterized Coppola's past work, resulting in her most narrative -- and ambitious -- film to date. But fans will recognize her eternal subject, the adolescent girl coping with coming of age. Unfortunately for Coppola her notion of adolescence didn’t exist in 18 Century France especially with someone of royalty. The stakes were to high and that kind of flaky shit was bread right the fuck out of you at a very early age by the constant reminder of the formality of your station if you were a royal and the constant reminder of starvation and deprivation if you were not. But who wants to be reminded of all that. That’s the kind of depressing stuff you’d get from hacks like Eisenstein, Pasolini or Lindsay Anderson. For Coppola, Marie Antoinette isn't the haughty queen whose heartlessness helped foment a revolution any more. In Coppola’s fantasy she's a valley girl, as Scarlett Johansson's character described herself in "Lost in Translation," who in another era would be taking dumb photographs of her feet completely removed from her time to where its safe to make her up out of nothing.
Although to juvenile for a cameo on Sex and the City, those feet happen to be shod in ever more outrageous Manolo Blahniks, as we see in "Marie Antoinette's" opening shot, when the film's captivating star, Kirsten Dunst, turns to the camera with a kittenish, inscrutable look and flaunts it on behalf of all the material girls who righteously don’t give a shit about anything but the image of themselves. From this cliched image the film goes back in time to 1768, when Marie Antoinette's ambitious mother, the Queen of Austria (Mick Jagger’s old squeeze, Marianne Faithfull), arranges her daughter's engagement to the Duke of Berry, the future Louis XVI of France. It's less a betrothal than a geopolitical merger, and when the 14-year-old Marie Antoinette travels to France to meet her intended, she is literally stripped of her past, bidding her friends, family and even clothes goodbye on a piece of land perfectly straddling Austrian and French soil. The moment she enters France she becomes the blithering idiot Coppola imagines her to be. Must be the fucking water.
The young dauphine who goes retrograde her training in Austria and emerges sweet, naive and wholly unprepared for the cloistered, ritualized life of the Versailles court, where she is a favorite of her husband's grandfather Louis XV (Rip Torn) and the subject of endless gossip on the part of her new family and retinue. Her marriage to the drippy sociopath Louis XVI, played by a worried-looking Jason Schwartzman, goes unconsummated for seven years, with the dauphin neglecting his dewy wife in favor of riding seamstresses or indulging his hobby of -- wait for it, armchair Freudians – slaughtering anyone who challenges his rule. Aroused by the firm and joyless hand of the Comtesse de Noailles (Judy Davis), her chief attendant, Marie Antoinette is thrust in the caboose and soon has the very life sucked from her. She may join the other caviling ladies of the court in snubbing the Comtesse du Barry, Louis XV's lover (robustly played by Asia Argento), but there's a glimmer of longing behind the icy stare and as we no sexual longing of this type is a fucking trademark of 14 year olds that’s why 50 something fat bald guys find them such easy prey on the internet or is my drivel actually getting tendentious here.
By the time "Marie Antoinette" gets to its most notorious scene possible in a PG-13 film noir film aimed at the demographic of the same enumeration--an orgy of champagne, petits fours, sock puppets, suckers and shoes set appropriately enough to Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy"-- it's clear that in Coppola’s imagination and mine, Marie's famous appetite for baubles and bows was less the character flaw of a spoiled decidedly non-Jewish princess than the scripts pathological response to history.
Following the lead of pop historian Antonia Fraser, upon whose 2001 hagiography "Marie Antoinette" is based, Coppola, aside from drawing in all manner of detritus from dozens of Gucci bags of popular culture, suggests without regard for historical fact or the public record that the queen was less a conspirator in the crimes of the Versailles court than a passive, inexperienced pawn of it, a sovereign who had forgotten her station and lifelong training in a tragic boating accident and whose only means to power was through pregnancy. Dunst's warm, spontaneous and exuberant portrayal makes viewers sympathize in classic textbook fashion of Hollywood manipulation. What led this teenager to become the symbol for all that was morally and politically indefensible about pre-revolutionary France was first that even at 14 it is more than idiotic to confuse her with today’s 14 year old giving blow jobs to the wrestling team behind the gym. Yet, that’s what Coppola insists on doing. For Christ fuckin’ sake; the bombardment of price tags from materialistic popular culture dooms the movie to contradict its own ambitions.
Presumably, some of the criticism of "Marie Antoinette" stems from the fact that its utter horseshit and actually has nothing at all to do with Marie Antoinette the historical figure who actually lived. Like her film subjects, Coppola never strays outside the gilded confines, from the isolation of the Versailles compound, nor does she go into any detail about the depth and depravity of the corruption that marked the reign of Louis XVI and his wife because history would fuck up the whole movie. The movie has nothing to do with the historical figure that lends it its name and is more a justification for Coppola and her ilk to live like swine which leads one to conclude that a new house cleaning of wealthy pricks may be in order, very short order.
To accuse "Marie Antoinette" of being apolitical can be covered up with a bullshit metaphor e.g. the movie is so much about the sexual politics of Versailles, where amid the profiteroles and peonies, Marie Antoinette's every move was subject to strict regulation and ceremonial control, but fuck the starving and dying variety of politics where Marie so clearly shown.
Coppola's use of New Romantic pop music, instead of dipping into the deep well of great 18th century classical composition, works surprisingly well since the movie has more to do with Coppola and the justification of privilege than Antoinette. Since Coppola and the 13 years olds she aims her films at are the films real subjects, her injection of present-day signifiers and modern teen speak feels right and unforced, including the witty inclusion of a pastel tennis shoe amid Marie's fetishistic collection of footwear. History would have only confused Coppola.
That well-placed sneaker right up the ass of historical Antoinette could be a symbol of the inescapable parallels with Coppola's own life: She is a famous fashion plate herself, and travels with the same kind of cosmopolitan groovers that are depicted in the film ("I love your hair," one hanger-on says to another. "What's going on there?"). Coppola's lack of access to Marie Antoinette's world goes even deeper than her ear for such louche cadences, having grown up the daughter of Francis Ford (Hollywood royalty), surrounding herself with a closely held circle of family and close friends (Schwartzman is her cousin) and being obsessively observed and vilified, from her ill-advised film debut in "The Godfather III" until this very day. Of course, her dad famously cancelled catering service in the middle of the Apocalypse Now shoot leading to his famous remark, “Let them eat Filipino deli!”
People will come to "Marie Antoinette" with their own predispositions and will most likely leave scratching their heads and going what the fuck did that movie have to do with Marie Antoinette. Christ fuckin’ Charleton Heston movies had more to do with the bible. Stone’s movie had more to do with the Kennedy assassination. Gnags of New York had more to do with, well, Gangs of New York. I paid fuckin’ ten bucks for Soporific Sophia Plays Dress Up.
Coppola invites the audience's projections with an unusually large and porous canvas or what’s known as a bad script. But those 13 year old girls willing to take the film on its own terms will be confronted with a portrait that, while perhaps unsettling to those who’ve read a couple of books on the subject, offers another confection at a time when Americans are debating the costs of isolation, both personal and political. Far from mere spectacle, "Marie Antoinette" is instead is intended to be a slyly subversive film, seducing viewers with its endless montage of sumptuous excess, but also daring them to empathize with the girl drowning in it. And I’m sure there are 13 year olds and Washington Post reporters who will buy that shit.
Marie Antoinette (123 minutes, at area theaters) is rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity and mild sexual innuendo just the way it was in the Court of Louis XVI. Lotta fuckin’ partial nudity and mild sexual innuendo in that butcher shop.