Thursday, December 10, 2009

Marie Antoinette

Although criticized by many as being a superficial film lacking in historical reference and plot, Sofia Coppola's interpretation of the Marie Antoinette story is pure delight. I found the two-hour experience mesmerizing and much more satisfying than those other fashion film attempts out there. And, yes, while "Marie Antoinette" is a bit light, it can be instructional if you take a closer look.

For example, take Coppola's use of Versailles. She gives us wide camera shots of the palace's exterior and close up views of well-proportioned rooms filled with architectural detail, beautiful flowers, sparkling chandeliers, and amazing furniture.

She shows us 18th-century excess complete with the ridiculous dressing ceremony, the royal lack of privacy, and the preponderance of gossip and intrigue. We are entertained with masquerade balls, home-made theater productions, and gambling parties. Coppola even makes reference to the menagerie of zoo animals kept on palace grounds.

The best part, of course, are the award-winning dresses designed by Milena Canonero. According to Jenn, a blogger with a well-organized site dedicated to costume design, the film is highly stylized "in regards to the [brighter] palette ... but the overall silhouette is spot-on and the basic cut of the costumes (if not the trim and accessories) is very period." "Marie Antoinette," in other words, is both exquisite and educational with short little insights into architecture, social history, and fashion design. Enjoy!

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