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Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers$
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Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474425261

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425261.001.0001

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Genre on the Surface: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

Genre on the Surface: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

Chapter:
(p.173) 5. Genre on the Surface: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette
Source:
Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers
Author(s):

Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425261.003.0006

Sofia Coppola, one of the most visible indie directors in recent years, is clearly embedded in the ‘commerce of auteurism’ (Corrigan 1991), as she actively participates in constructing her public image. Building on existing scholarship on the filmmaker as illustrative of the new critical paradigm in studies of women’s film authorship, the first section of this chapter looks at the promotional and critical discourses surrounding her films to trace the various processes of authentication and de-authentication of Coppola as an auteur (family connections, the privileged position in the American film industry, her filmmaking style marked by a focus on flat affects and the mise-en-scène’s surface details, as well as her interest in postfeminist/neoliberal femininity which has divided critics, especially with her 2013 feature film, The Bling Ring). In the exploration of Coppola’s authorial status, the chapter sheds light on the issue of genre, arguing that her engagement with familiar conventions is far more complex than current analysis of her work has acknowledged. This is particularly evident in the case of Marie Antoinette (2006), a film which has been read variably as a costume drama and/or as a historical biopic. In establishing a dialogical relationship between biopic and costume drama scholarship, the chapter centres on self-conscious devices deployed in Coppola’s film, which are mobilised not against but through a logic of a feminised consumerist culture. The aim is not to reject the supposed ‘feminising’ aspects of the costume drama or to masculinise them in framing the film as a ‘self-conscious’ biopic, but rather to investigate the gender anxieties that underlay the labelling of genres by film criticism.

Keywords:   biopic, costume drama, independent cinema, authorship, commerce of auteurism, genre, consumerist culture, Sofia Coppola, Marie Antoinette, gendering of genres

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