It’s been a busy year for Sofia Coppola. In between shooting her Priscilla Presley biopic and a tribute to Suntory whisky with her good pal Keanu Reeves, she’s also found time to create her first book. Archive by Sofia Coppola is a mammoth look back across 24 years of filmmaking, from The Virgin Suicides to Priscilla. Preceded by an interview between Coppola and her close friend Lynn Hirschberg, it’s the most in-depth look we’ve ever had at Coppola’s creative process.
Divided into eight chapters – each dedicated to one of her films, in chronological order – the book comprises short introductions from Coppola followed by photography and scanned documents from the production process. While most books about filmmaking comprise lengthy essays full of anecdotes and advice, it’s fitting that Coppola – a filmmaker who has always been led by her strong photographic sensibility – is more visual in her approach. Moodboards, costume tests, magazine cuttings and reference images instead fill the pages, as well as plenty of gorgeous set photography from Coppola’s long-time collaborator Andrew Durham (who was also instrumental in the creation of Sofia Coppola: Forever Young).
For fans of her work, it’s a beautiful peek behind the curtain, capturing sweet on-set moments – such as Coppola’s young daughter visiting the set of Somewhere – alongside captions that provide some interesting trivia about her work. Beneath a behind-the-scenes picture from The Beguiled, Coppola reveals that the film was Elle Fanning’s first without a chaperone, and she lived with Kirsten Dunst throughout production.
Reproduced copies of script pages, letters and email screenshots also provide a rare insight into what goes into making a Coppola film. We see a note from Jeffrey Eugenides about The Virgin Suicides and the photos that Priscilla Presley emailed to Coppola for her research. Such a wide range of documents might also prove useful to filmmakers or screenwriters working on their own projects – it’s useful to see how another artist organises their thoughts, and Coppola’s wide-ranging inspiration from classical art to Paris Hilton’s personalised cushions.
Archive by Sofia Coppola is out now from MACK Books, RRP £55.
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