The View From Here

First look - Sofia Coppola's Somewhere trailer

Michael Bonner

In one of those funny little coincidences that come along every now and then, I’ve just finished reading the film pages in the next issue. Among them is a very fine review of Francis Ford Coppola’s latest, Tetro. And now, I’ve just watched the trailer for Somewhere, the forthcoming film from Sofia Coppola.

I’m a huge fan of Sofia Coppola’s films to date. Hey, I even liked Marie Antoinette. Personally, I found its drifting moods and woolly narrative pretty beguiling stuff. I could go on, too, about the hazy, impressionistic feel of the scenes at Petit Trianon, the tremendous use of the opening bars of The Cure’s “Plainsong” during the coronation scenes, yadda yadda yadda.

Apart from her obvious stylistic skills, I think one of the keys to Coppola’s movies (perhaps with the exception of The Virgin Suicides) is how they correspond to her own experiences. It’s been suggested many times, of course, that there’s something of Coppola herself in Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte, from Lost In Translation. And particularly how Coppola’s own faltering marriage to director Spike Jonze is reflected in Charlotte’s gradual detachment from her husband in the film.

You could even argue that Marie Antoinette might shed some light on Coppola’s own teenage upbringing. After all, you might wonder what it was like growing up in the Coppola household in the Seventies, when her father was at the height of his filmmaking powers, effectively Hollywood royalty? Coppola and Marie were both the youngest daughters in their respective families; Coppola’s film is soundtracked by the Goth-y music of her youth: The Cure, New Order, Siouxsie & The Banshees.

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So what to make of Somewhere, then? According to a brief official synopsis from the film company, it’s “the story of Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a bad-boy actor stumbling through a life of excess at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood. With an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning), Johnny is forced to look at the questions we all must confront.”

Admittedly, on paper it sounds pretty grim – you could imagine something like this being made in the Eighties starring Robin Williams, something awful where Life Lessons Are Learned in the most nauseous fashion possible. All the same, the trailer itself looks beautiful; it’s almost wordless, just a wistful piece of indie-electronica from (presumably) Phoenix running over the top. There are echoes here of Lost In Translation – principally, the idea of a tentative relationship between an older man and a young girl, much of it played out in a hotel. But you wonder, too, how much of Coppola’s own childhood is being mined here. To what extent does Johnny Marco represent some aspect of her own father?

Of course, we’re going to have to wait until the film comes out for answers, and perhaps more importantly whether the film is any good or not. Astonishingly, Somewhere isn’t out until January next year. Quite why we have to wait so long between the trailer’s release and its arrival in cinemas is beyond me. Unless, of course, she’s got a third act involving a bunch of supervillains, space ships and city-stamping monsters that needs extensive CGI work, seven months seems an awful long time to wait.

I'm looking forward to it tremendously, tho. What about you? Is seven months too long to wait for Somewhere? Or did you get bored by Marie Antoinette?

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