Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy St.
Mon., Apr. 16, 2018, 7 – 8 p.m.
Sofia Coppola’s newest film is a lush period piece set in the South during the twilight of the Civil War and focused, like other of her films, upon a group of willfully independent females: the teachers and young pupils of a private girls’ school housed on a remote plantation estate ever closer to the expanding battlefield. The Beguiled is a nuanced yet pointed reimagining of the 1966 Thomas P. Cullinan novel, which was first adapted for the screen by Don Siegel and starred a young Clint Eastwood as a wounded Union soldier nursed by the women only to become an unexpectedly destructive force within their hidden world. Coppola carefully lowers the feverish temperature of the earlier film to define a more distant stance that better observes the women as a group while also subtly questioning the cinematic reconstruction of the historic past. Paired against Colin Farrell’s Irish soldier as the film’s obscure amorous object are the tightly corseted Nicole Kidman and Coppola regular Kirsten Dunst as a wistfully lonely schoolmarm. The immersive interiority inhabited by many of Coppola’s films is deepened by the richly sensual world of the The Beguiled’s cloistered school, in which satin and candlelight, blood and soil are imparted with an almost elemental force that imparts subtler meaning to her characters’ strategic habitation of their contested space. Coppola’s innovative adaptation is carefully subtractive, pointedly removing signature elements of Siegel’s film in order to focus upon a languid world out of time, singularly created and defended by her headstrong women.
Gazette Classification: Film
Cost: $12 Special Event Tickets
Ticket Web Link: hcl.harvard.edu…
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