Sofia CoppolaUSA96 minutes1999ColourEnglish
Intro with Next Wave Committee member Emily Neira
Sofia Coppola made her stunning feature debut with this delicate portrait of adolescent girlhood clashing with overbearing parents and the cruelties of teenage male lust. The virgins of the title are the Lisbon sisters, a quintet of duty-bound beauties living in Grosse Pointe, Michigan in the mid-'70s, who become objects of desire and lifelong fascination for a group of neighbourhood boys. After the inexplicable suicide of the youngest of the brood, the remaining sisters are shut in at home by their traumatized, uncomprehending parents (Kathleen Turner and James Woods), only increasing the girls' spectral allure. When wild-child sister Lux (Kirsten Dunst) breaks curfew to spend a less than heavenly night on the school football field with despicable local dreamboat Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett), her incensed mother cuts the girls off from the world completely, precipitating the tragedy announced by the title. Bathed in sun-kissed pastels and dreamy period pop, The Virgin Suicides reveals that "Already, with her first film, Coppola was a master at rendering inner depths startlingly, straightforwardly visual" (Richard Brody, The New Yorker).