Overtly, the film is about the trauma these boys suffer after the girls’ suicides and their inability to deal collectively with their deaths. On a formal level, however, the film is concerned with something quite different: the implicit violence of the adolescent rite of passage that pushes individuals into prescribed roles, and the irreparable harm that this can cause. It is this ‘implicit violence’ or reality that the boys truly cannot face up to. The film contains a lot of dreamlike and fantastical imagery; Coppola deliberately draws upon advertising campaigns from the 1970s and the photography from this period by William Eggleston and Sam Haskins in order to create instantly recognisable images that are evocative of a particular kind of feminine beauty that is at once both infantile and pornographic. The abundance of these fantastical kinds of images is one of the film’s most salient features.
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