Film School: Sofia Coppola

“I try to just make what I want to make or what I would want to see. I try not to think about the audience too much.”
— Sofia Coppola

Director, producer, Oscar-winning screenwriter, actor, model, fashion-label owner, photographer. Sofia Coppola is both the ultimate insider, born into the famous Coppola dynasty, muse to Marc Jacobs and married to a rock star (Phoenix’s Thomas Mars), yet at the same time frequently making films critiquing the phony world of Hollywood a fact, some might see as biting the hand that feeds, as a privileged filmmaker attacking celebrity culture while happily drawing on an extraordinary network of contacts.

Starting out as an actress in her father’s film making appearences in the Godfather trilogy before stepping into the role of Michael Corlone’s daughter for part 3 when Winnona Ryder dropped out, only for critics to savagely highlight her flat performance, critisism that still seems to follow her around today.


However when it came to following in the family legacy her first writing piece came with her father’s portion of “New York Stories” with the segment Life without Zoe about a schoolgirl who live in a luxury hotel and helps an Arab princess recover her stolen jewelry. Rather than choosing at this point to further pursue this inital break Coppola instead opted to studying painting before switching to photography which inturn has carried over to her work often being noted with her shot construction.

As a director her work draws influence from the French New Wave and Italian Neorealism which she was introduced to through her father while citing her father’s Rumble fish, alongside Breathless, Stanley Kubric’s Loita, and John Hughes Sixteen candles amongst her favourite films.



Lick The Star – Short (1998)
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Lost In Translation (2003)
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Somewhere (2010)
The Bling Ring (2013)
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
The Beguiled (2017)

Director Trademarks

  • In comparison to the epic films of her father Francis’ like The Godfather and Apocalypse now Sofia’s films are intimate and smaller in scale. Instead she chooses to follow characters suspended in moments of transistion.
  • Her films are muted in colour and filmed in natural light creating lonely dreamscapes guided by sound while at the same time despite her critical and commerical sucess she has continually chosen the creative freedom of independent filmmaking over big budgets.
  • Coppola’s films are not driven by plot, but rather themes favourites including lonelyness, teen culture, stilted ambition and burgeoning geminity with her films often featuring female characters facing a turning point
  • Character’s emotion state shown through visuals, while her films are shot with a documentary sensibility and ambient sound aswell as featuring a signature follow shot.
  • Coppola has shot exclusivly on film with the exception of Bling Ring  which to date is her only film to be shot on digital.


One thought on “Film School: Sofia Coppola”

  1. She is one of my favorite filmmakers. Marie Antoinette is my favorite movie she has done. I can agree with her influences. Her films do feel like they have Kubrick’s look and style with Hugh’s brand of characters mixed with French New Wave.

    Liked by 1 person

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