Mise En Scene in Sofia Coppola's the Virgin Suicides

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Topics: Suicide, Diary, Narrator, Girl
Director Sofia Carmina Copolla has been known for her ultra-feminine, visually stylish, quite ostentatious treatment of her films.. Her love for arts and fashion contributes to the very sensual and appealing form of her work. One of her earlier films, The Virgin Suicides, is a testament to this; with its soft color palettes, dreamy soundtrack, and the liminal and transitional theme of the story that captures the pressures of going through adolescent rites of passage: first dance, first kiss, losing ones virginity.

The mysterious Lisbon girls’ suicides is told to us by an anonymous boy that represents the group of boys that have loved, revered and wondered at the Lisbon girls and were the last to see them alive. In the scene wherein they get a hold of Cecilia’s diary, the director establishes just how much of a mystery these girls are to the boys. We are never given a clear picture as to the girls’ white-picket-fence suburban lives and the things that might have lead to Cecilia’s suicide; only rumors and gossip offered by neighbors, narrated by the boys; that’s why the diary serves as both a vehicle for the advancement of the plot and an important medium to communicate to us the Lisbon girls’ thoughts and feelings in a distant yet very personal way. The boys wanted to know what could have triggered the death of one them, and in knowing more about them, they come to fall in love with the elusive Lisbon girls. Even the diary prop, innocent in the way that it was made--with the stickers of rainbows, drawings of flowers, written in beautiful cursive--contained incredibly sad anecdotes about Cecilia and the girls. It was almost a foreshadowing of the things to come; how the innocent, angelic girls could commit suicide for no readily apparent reason.

The diary scene starts with the boys flipping through the pages together. It is important that we go together with the boys through their journey in processing their information and feelings towards the girls. In

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