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  •  READER COMMENTS

    Reader comments on

    Subject: Re: continued explanation
    Date: Apr 10, 2001
    Sender: Holden CaulfieldPrevious | Next

    I'm supposed to be writing an essay right now -- this is creative procrastination. Is a conventional reading of this film possible? Straight-forward analysis of the characters, their motives, and even S. Coppela's idea seems particularly slippery here. The viewer consensus looks to be: "Huh?" So either Coppela's a complete hack -- which seems unlikely considering the technical beauty of the piece -- or, just maybe, she's submitted this as one of the many recent morally aloof but practically entangled critiques of contemporary Life-After-God Americana. ("Magnolia" & "American Beauty" are the two big ones in this recent genre, "Girl, Interupted" is another. But the derivatives are now being churned out fast and furious -- witness "American Pie", "High Fidelity"...) If that's the case, this one might take the idiological cake. No closure, no moral, no overt social concern, no criticism, no transcendence. Compare another of this genre but from a decade ago, Robert Altman's "Shortcuts". The production placed itself squarely in the muck with its subjects, ambiguously celebrating the self-destruction of late American culture -- but it was intensely critical. From ten year's distance that stance looks slightly hypocritical. Here we have what looks like a purer form -- total absence of critical stance. Coppela's in the muck, just like Altman, and her father before her (remember his self-abasing photo-journalist scene in "Apocalpse"); but she goes further by NOT telling us what's wrong. "All we have is pieces" -- isn't that what the neighborhood boy-voyers say? So they don't speculate, and nor does Coppela. If there's a take-home message at all, maybe its that the subject is just too sensitive to take a critical, superior, "outsider" stand on. As the reviewer above commented, the film reads like its made by some one who's been a teen-age girl -- some one who feels its all wrong, but can't get out of the shit. So Copella leaves the moral conjecture to the audience. Mine's the same as most of the other commentors here: the girls can't get out of the shit because no one seems to care enough to acknowledge the problem. To everyone in the girls' town, they were merely a spectacle. The film is rife with scenes of ubiquitous neighborly insanity that everyone in town chooses to ignore. And the ones who were supposed to be taking responsibility chose to "meek" out. (This description seems uncomfortably familiar somehow...) My question to Coppela would be whether the "leave the moralizing to the audience" tact is effective -- but maybe THAT begs the question altogether; why should we look to artists for our moral analysis of reality in the first place -- isn't that part of the same mistake that the TV & pop-music submersed culture was making in the story? The tact certainly is postmodern, for whatever that's worth. And in any case, boy does Sophia work better on this side of the lens!

    Previous: continued explanation | Next: Re: continued explanation

    Respond to this message | Return to original article:



    Response to this comment:
    continued explanation

    I somehow got cut off. To finish my entry........
    The girls were prisoners because their parents were made afraid of the world by their own parents which is evident by the way they raised their own daughters. They thought they were acting in the girls best interest, but the parents really sealed their doom. The older sisters took their lead from the youngest one who knew at 13 years of age that that life wasn't right. Even now in 2001, people don't realize that how you were raised determines how you handle things as an adult. If you don't change the negative things, you will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. The parents in the movie didn't realize that they were harming their children, otherwise, they would have changed their behavior after the first death. As it was, they remained clueless and lost all of them. This is a sad footnote of our society.






    Comment index:

  • Virgin Suicides   from ZANNOAH, Jan 25, 2001
  • Re: Virgin Suicides   from Lux, Mar 24, 2001
  • intersting but extremely non explanatory   from Kirsten, Mar 24, 2001
  • nope, nope, nope   from Deena, Nov 20, 2002
  • Somewhat of an explanation   from Crystal, Apr 8, 2001
  • continued explanation   from Crystal, Apr 8, 2001
  • » Re: continued explanation «   from Holden Caulfield, Apr 10, 2001
  • Re: continued explanation   from Crystal, Apr 11, 2001
  • Grand   from Tricia, Feb 6, 2004
  • Mix Comments   from Jaan, Jul 4, 2006
  • huh??   from pv, Dec 13, 2006
  • Virgin Suicides   from ZANNOAH, Jan 25, 2001
  • Re: Virgin Suicides   from Lux, Mar 24, 2001
  • intersting but extremely non explanatory   from Kirsten, Mar 24, 2001
  • nope, nope, nope   from Deena, Nov 20, 2002
  • Somewhat of an explanation   from Crystal, Apr 8, 2001
  • continued explanation   from Crystal, Apr 8, 2001
  • » Re: continued explanation «   from Holden Caulfield, Apr 10, 2001
  • Re: continued explanation   from Crystal, Apr 11, 2001
  • Grand   from Tricia, Feb 6, 2004
  • Mix Comments   from Jaan, Jul 4, 2006
  • huh??   from pv, Dec 13, 2006