From “Virgin Suicides” to “Priscilla”, the captives of Sofia Coppola

From “Virgin Suicides” to “Priscilla”, the captives of Sofia Coppola


This is her home. New York, Manhattan more precisely, on the corner of Grove and Bleecker Street, in the heart of Greenwich Village, in this cramped French bistro where she is accustomed. The address is very popular, always full. Most of those who enter looking for a table are politely turned away. Not Sofia Coppola. The 52-year-old filmmaker, who releases her eighth film, Priscilla, on January 3, even has her usual table at the back of the establishment. In this space, the ceiling is higher, we do not experience the promiscuity that reigns around. We breathe. Even the infernal noise of the room seems contained by an invisible barrier. Sofia Coppola’s house is just around the corner. When the director enters what is her headquarters, all eyes fall on her. The waiters move aside, their tone changes, becomes more considerate.

To the visitor who comes to meet her, we reserve the same deference, that which befits guests of a moment, worthy of the respect granted to those who frequent, even for a few hours, a respectable personality. Before ordering, the honored guest discreetly spreads her coat on the bench. She is the only one here to have this privilege. In a cramped space, bulky clothing rarely has a place. But she can afford to display her finery in all majesty. The director then meticulously removes her gloves, flattens them with her hand, and places them delicately.

“We can talk,” she said as soon as she ordered her tea. And so she speaks. In a low voice. The words are whispered, released in unity, almost conceded, on a note so discreet that one wonders if the lady is not in dialogue with herself. His voice asks questions. It does not only appeal to the one-day interlocutor. She can also surprise those who have always been around her.

While on the set of his first film, Virgin Suicides (1999), his father, director Francis Ford Coppola, whispered in his ear: “You should speak louder, say “action” through a loudspeaker. . » She told him, with this advice, that he could now leave the set. “A special phenomenon happens when I get to work: I don’t need to shout. I’m not very tall either. No risk of me turning into a despot. The advantage of being underestimated is that people will always be surprised by the result. »

About this father who declared that he was “more than proud” of the reception given to Priscilla during the Venice Film Festival in September 2023, where the main performer, Cailee Spaeny, won the prize of female interpretation, she adds: “I’m not going to tell you that her presence on my set wasn’t intimidating. Except that directing a film is where you can shape the world the way you want. I can say things differently, but that doesn’t stop me from getting what I want. »

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