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The Virgin Suicides – 4K

Growing up is a traumatic experience. It’s why so many coming of age films get under the skin. Even those disguised as comedies feel achingly true to life. It’s why John HughesThe Breakfast Club works so well. It’s also why Sofia Coppla’s The Virgin Suicides remains a film etched to memory.

Released by StudioCanal for the first time on 4K UHD, The Virgin Suicides marked Sofia Coppla’s directorial debut and one that showed her immense talent away from her Hollywood dynasty family.

Based on Jeffrey Eugenides’ book, the film follows the lives of the Lisbon sisters as they cast a spell on the neighbourhood boys who document them from afar. With father (James Woods) and mother (Kathleen Turner) horribly over-protective of their daughters it isn’t long before the youngest, Cecilia (Hanna Hall) attempts to take her own life. And so begins the fascination of both us and the boys, what is really going on with the Lisbons. Lux Lisbon (Kirsten Dunst) in particular captures the imagination with her siren-like ways. But as the girls look to explore adolescence so their mother in particular tightens the reins.

Much like the Lisbon girls, The Virgin Suicides is spellbinding. It completely transports you not only to a different era, in this case the late ‘70s, but also to the hazy days of high school. Those times in your life where memories feel sun-kissed and warm. It is an exercise in pure nostalgia, Coppola smartly using a mix of endless needle-drops combined with Air’s now iconic soundtrack to conjure something truly transportive. Much of the film, aided no end by Giovanni Ribisi dulcet voice over, is intoxicating, a fever dream akin to Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock.

Like Picnic, The Virgin Suicides deals with a loss of innocence, both in the physical and metaphorical sense. It is beguiling in its execution. Coppola’s lens lingers over the Libson sisters, often shooting them like a modern day perfume commercial, its influence still resonates hard. Look at any Marc Jacobs commercial starring Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Berger as a key indicator of Coppla’s aesthetics. The way Coppola’s camera seems to float lends to this sense of dream but also a style that echoes through much of her work, a feeling of angelic disconnect, as if we are watching these almost deities atop Mount Olympus perform their dramas for us.

A haunting, sometimes darkly funny slice of nostalgia, The Virgin Suicides remains an achingly beautiful piece of cinema. 

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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