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Contemporary Directors Symposium: the films of Sofia Coppola

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University of Sussex

School of Media, Film and Music

Silverstone Building

Falmer

BN1 9RH

United Kingdom

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Keynote speakers:

Fiona Handyside (University of Exeter), author of Sofia Coppola: A Cinema of Girlhood (IB Tauris, 2017)

Anna Backman Rogers (University of Gothenburg), author of Sofia Coppola: The Politics of Visual Pleasure (Berghahn, forthcoming 2018)

The films of director, writer and producer Sofia Coppola have enjoyed critical and commercial success, with 2017 seeing her receive the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled. Only the second woman to win the award, and, in 2004, the first American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director (for Lost in Translation) Coppola is one of the most significant directors working today. Her six feature films, from The Virgin Suicides (1999) to The Beguiled (2017) have established her as an important and distinctive voice in contemporary cinema. Exploring key themes such as adolescence, celebrity, fashion, and travel, her films have returned repeatedly to young female protagonists, bringing questions of femininity, girlhood, and (post)feminism to the fore. Working with key collaborators such as Harris Savides and Brian Reitzell, Coppola has also established a distinctive and influential audiovisual aesthetic, from cinematography, costume, and production design to carefully curated soundtracks. Poised between mainstream and indie, Hollywood celebrity and international art film ‘auteur’, Coppola occupies a unique place, both creatively and industrially, in the global film business. And as director of music videos for bands such as Air, The White Stripes, and Phoenix, and high-profile advertising campaigns for Christian Dior, Calvin Klein and Gap, her influence extends beyond her feature film output into popular culture more generally.

This one-day symposium seeks to bring together scholars working on Coppola’s films from a variety of perspectives.


11:00 Arrival and registration (SB309)

11.20 Introduction (SB309)

11:30 Keynote 1 (SB309) Anna Backman Rogers (Gothenburg), “‘It is dangerous to feel sorry for one’s oppressor – women are especially prone in this failing.’ Or ‘Why should I worry? I have no phallic symbol to lose.’ On Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled (2017)”

12:30 Lunch (Social Space, 3rd Floor, Silverstone)

13:15 Panel 1: Sofia Coppola and the aesthetics of femininity (SB309)

Chair: TBC

Michelle Devereaux (Birmingham), “Oh! You Pretty Things”: Imagination, Emotion, and the Feminine Sublime in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides

Alexandra Grieve (Cambridge), “Style, Surveillance and Subversion: Post-feminism and Disruptive Excess in The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Marie Antoinette (2006)”

Delphine Letort (Le Mans), “Coppola’s Advertising Aesthetic and Postfeminism”

14:45 Coffee break (Social Space, 3rd Floor, Silverstone) 15:15 Panel 2: New perspectives on Sofia Coppola (SB309)

Chair: TBC

Lawrence Webb (Sussex), “Sofia Coppola: The Auteur as Curator”

Silke Roesler (Regensburg), “Sofia Coppola as a Postfeminist Auteur: a ‘Cinema of Relief’”

Michael Lawrence (Sussex), “The Reguiled: The Politics of Perspective in Coppola’s Remake”

16:45 Comfort break

17:00 Keynote 2 (SB309) Fiona Handyside (Exeter), “Death and the Maidens: Speculating about Spectral Incognisance in Sofia Coppola’s Films”

18:00 Closing discussion (SB309)

18.15 Wine reception (Social Space, 3rd Floor, Silverstone)

Please see https://sussexcds.wordpress.com/ for more information.

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University of Sussex

School of Media, Film and Music

Silverstone Building

Falmer

BN1 9RH

United Kingdom

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