By Mónica Delgado
Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, unlike the original film by Don Siegel, centers its narrative in defining a way of life of the middle class from an arcadia of young women in the context of the American civil war. If in the Don Siegel adaptation of Albert Maltz’ novel, the women make decisions with a touch of darkness and perversion, in Coppola’s remake they are submitted to the norms and good manners, free of all wickedness (at least explicit one). And it is inside of this corset that the filmmaker will immerse us in this universe backlit by candlelight.
Coppola does transform Siegel’s remake, turning it in a smaller piece, isolating the interaction of the characters in a match between Colin Farrel and seven women of different ages who are fascinated by this wounded man, who stays in the mansion to recover from different wounds taken in a battle. And unlike Siegel, the filmmaker poses an arcadia from the beginning, erasing any external element that would mean an escape from that place. That’s how these women start a subtle competition for the attention of this man, whom is seduced but also asphyxiated.
The greatest merit of The Beguiled (that doesn’t use the soundtrack like in other films of the filmmaker) lies in how Coppola constructs the relationships between women, through silences or simple and suggestive dialogues that avoid evilness, and bets for an atmosphere of power plays, where the photography unveils this darkness that the actions repress or hide. A film that saved the day in Cannes.
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Written by Sofia Coppola, Thomas Cullinan (novel)
Producers: Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley
Cinematography by Philippe Le Sourd
Film Editing by Sarah Flack
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell, Angourie Rice, Oona Laurence, Addison Riecke
USA, 94 min