Sofia Coppola brought Somewhere, her latest feature, to the 67th Venice Film Festival. The Oscar winning director has done a trilogy on young women and has now turned to young men in her style of contemplative introspection.
The film is set in Los Angeles and Milan and concerns a privately errant director Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) who has been left by his partner and who tries to spend quality time with his daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning). She is just about to go off to summer camp and he drives her in his elegant Ferrari, a machine that symbolizes his wealth and esteem, but not his emotional IQ.
Johnny is on the road often and stays in hotels where room service fulfills his every desire. Cleo gets used to it all, and is a pretty good cook, making her father eggs benedict and pasta like a first rate chef. But she is not too happy about one of his pushy girlfriends who shows up while they are supposed to be alone. This happens when she accompanies Dad to Milan to pick up a TV award. During the televised awards show he is flanked by scantily clad dancing women, much to his surprise and Cleo's amusement. Coppola does seem to poke a bit of fun at the cheesiness of the entertainment industry in Milan, the fast talking reporters, clamoring fans and service personnel who will do anything for Johnny Marco.
Coppola is the darling of the Italians and cause celebre because of her family roots in Italy and famous father. She did mention him a few times in regards to questions about her film. When asked about why her films are often set in hotels, she said she spent a lot of time in these spaces while traveling with her director father. Could Cleo be a little like father Francis Ford Coppola? Or more like bad boy VIncent Gallo with his messed up hair, jeans and t shirts. (Family friend Gallo brings to Venice Promises Written in Water and has left out any explanation in advance). Elle Fanning is purely magnificent in her role and a joy to watch.Stephen Dorff shrugged off a remark if playing Marco was the defining moment of his career, but certainly a role he enjoyed.
On making this film, Sofia said her father felt that you should do the films you are interested in making and go for it.
Somewhere opens in San Francisco on December 24th. It should be worth the wait.