Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Movie: Marie Antoinette

So I've decided to start profiling movies every Monday. 
I often find a ton of inspiration in films that display art and fashion through its scenes.
Each Monday, I'll focus on a different movie that displays elements of fashion and art. 
Hopefully, by doing so, the film will help inspire you as much as it has inspired me. 
Just a warning: these posts will generally be picture heavy.
For this week, I decided that since we just celebrated Halloween, I'd focus on a movie that inspired one of my costumes a few years back. 

Marie Antoinette
2006, Directed by Sophia Coppola
Based on the book Abundance by Antonia Fraser

Coppola has suggested that the highly stylized interpretation is modern in order to humanize the historical figures involved. 

What's so amazing about this film is that it was pretty much the first one to ever have unprecedented access to the actual Palace of Versailles in France.  
The bulk of the clothes were made in ateliers in Rome's Cincecitta studios. "I started by throwing pieces of material of Kirsten to see what colours suited her best. I hardly used wigs, because they weren't right for her. We thought that maybe we could have gone more crazy, but there was just not time."

The French government granted special permission for the crew to film in the Palace of Versailles. 

"The biggest challenge facing Canonero was the sheer volume of costumes involved in staging three operas - Marie Antoinette was a keen and accomplished amateur performer - her wedding to the Dauphin, his coronation as Louis XVI, plus gambling and party scenes. "To dress and undress so many people is incredibly challenging. It's rare to make a movie these days that spans 20 years of a very grand life."
Coppola claims that her film "is not a lesson of history. It is an interpretation documented, but carried by my desire for covering the subject differently."
"For Madame du Barry, "the rather vulgar mistress of the decadent King" (Louis XV, Marie Antoinette's grandfather-in-law), Canonero wanted a totally different look from that of Marie Antoinette. "I dressed her like an exotic bird, in contrast to the rather naive, innocent queen-in-waiting."
Coppola has said that she was heavily influenced by the films of Wong Kar-wai, Terrence Malick and Milos Forman. 
The film won the 2006 Oscar for Best Costume Design.
(For good reason!)
Milen Canonero and six assistant designers worked on creating the gowns, hats, menswear and prop costumes for the film. HUNDREDS of wigs and hair pieces were also created in order to really capture the essence of the time period. 
On the materials used in making the costumes: "Beautiful silks, taffeta, and satin. But for Marie Antoinette I used original lace from the 18th century and I also used original waistcoats for the men, and the jewelry and accessories were sometimes used in a freer way. In those days all the ladies in the court would be covered in lace because it was the way to show how rich you were. They had much more jewelry than I used. I preferred the decorations of the dresses to be more graphic than lacy. Even though I used beautiful period lace sometimes."
In one scene while Marie Antoinette is getting ready, the audience can see a pair of blue Converses. Sofia Coppola has said that the shoes were put into the scene on purpose in order to display Marie Antoinette as a typical teenage girl, despite the time in which she lived.
Was ranked #3 on US Weekly's "Top Ten Films of 2006". 

Sofia Coppola had Spanish footwear designer Manolo Blahnik create hundreds of specially made shoes for the film. 

The men playing guitar in the scene with a woman singing for Marie Antoinette are members of the musical group Phoenix.
From The London Times Magazine: "At the start of pre-production, Coppola handed Canonero a box of pastel-coloured macaroons from the Laduree pastry house. "She told me, 'These are the colours I love'," recalls Canonero. "I used them as a palette. Sofia was clear about the colouration, but left the rest to me. We squeezed the essence of the period, without reproducing it. Even if you think you know a lot about it," she argues, "you always have to look for a new angle. I simplified the very heavy look of the 18th century. I wanted it to be believable, but more stylized."
The soundtrack in this film is epic. New Order, Gang of Four, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bow Wow Wow, Adam and the Ants, The Strokes, Dustin O'Halloran and The Radio Dept. The film DOES use some music from the time period as well. 

As is shown in the movie, Marie Antoinette was not allowed to keep her pug, Mops, when she entered France. However, later on Count Mercy arranged for the pug to be sent to her after her marriage. 

Even though the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles was in restoration - until spring 2007 - Sofia Coppola was allowed to film there a ball scene for the wedding of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI. 

Ladurée was chosen by Sofia Coppola to make all of the brightly colored pastries and cakes for the film. 

Movie Tagline: 
"The Party That Started A Revolution"
Along with Versailles, the film was also shot at the Paris Opera, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Château de Chantilly, Hôtel de Soubise and at the Belvedere in Vienna.

A few quotes from the film are directly taken from Marie Antoinette's actual life and from the biography by Antonia Fraser that the film is loosely based upon. Louis XV's comment about Marie Antoinette's bosom upon her arrival in France, Marie Antoinette's comment on having enough diamonds when presented with the opportunity of receiving some as a gift from Madame du Barry, Marie's comment to Madame du Barry about there being a lot of people at Versailles on the day of their infamous first exchange of words, and Marie's comment to her husband, Louis XVI, during a gambling party, explaining that Louis told her she could throw the party but never specified for how long are all actual exchanges of words and conversations from different events in the queen's life. 

Director Sofia Coppola, the daughter of The Godfather (1972) director Francis Ford Coppola, included in her cast many performers who are also children of famous film professionals: her cousin, Jason Schwartzman, is the son of actress Talia Shire and producer Jack SchwartzmanAsia Argento is the daughter of Italian horror director Dario ArgentoMary Nighy is the daughter of British actor Bill Nighy;Katrine Boorman is the daughter of British director John BoormanDanny Huston is the son of American director John Huston and the grandson of character actor Walter Huston; and Io Bottoms, who played a lady-in-waiting, is the daughter of actor Sam Bottoms and Susan Arnold

Sofia Coppola refused to read the famous biography of Marie-Antoinette written by Stefan Zweig, which she judged too strict. She turned instead to the book by Antonia Fraser, which makes the queen a more human character, a young girl with no connection to reality who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Roger Ebert gave the film 4/4 stars. He said that, "every criticism I have read of this film would alter its fragile magic and reduce its romantic and tragic poignancy to the level of an instructional film. This is Sofia Coppola's third film centering on the loneliness of being female and surrounded by a world that knows how to use you but not how to value and understand you."
According to history, when Marie Antoinette met the rioters on the balcony of the palace, she had her eldest daughter with her. This was supposedly in order to muster up a sense of sympathy for her and her family. 

All images from Google Images. 
Trivia from Wikipedia, IMDB and HERE.

Just for kicks, here is a picture of me dressed up as Marie Antoinette in 2008!

(Sorry for the bad "facebook" quality of this picture...all my good ones are on my hard drive at home!)


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