Influence of film noir in The Virgin Suicides
Teen suicide was not unheard of before the 1990s, but its increasing cases during this period led people to recognize the problem. Schools even began publishing materials to educate students and parents about the phenomenon. The Virgin Suicides Tackles this delicate subject head on. Sofia Coppola combines elements of her own style with those of classic film noir to show how these young people become so alienated in a world they hardly know or understand. Through the eyes of five sheltered teenagers, Coppola opens up a dark universe of isolation.
From the beginning of the film, it is recognized that the five girls in Lisbon died before reaching adulthood. A small group of boys, now men, from the Lisbon neighborhood have never forgotten the mysterious sisters whom they have never fully deciphered. One of the men narrates the movie and informs the viewer that he and his friends still meet at every high school reunion and birthday party to discuss the fate of the Lisbon girls.
The movie then goes back to their childhood around 1975, and features the girls as they get out of their family’s truck. Cecilia is the youngest at 13, preceded by Lux, Bonnie, Mary and Therese, all one year older than another. All the girls seem so young and innocent and beautiful. However, it is soon revealed that Cecilia just got out of the hospital after a suicide attempt.
Cecilia begins to see a therapist who recommends that strict Lisbon allow her daughters to have a party to encourage the girls and allow them to interact with boys and girls of the same age. Cecilia is upset that a group of peers makes fun of a boy with Down syndrome. She feels like she will never really belong to society, so she runs upstairs and jumps out the window. His second suicide attempt is successful as he lands on a pointed wrought iron fence. The rest of the film is about Lisbon’s struggle to cope with this new reality. In the end, the remaining sisters decide that Cecilia was right about the world being a desolate and lonely place where existence itself is useless, so they decide to join her and take their own lives.
Although The Virgin Suicides It is by no means a classic film noir, it is undeniable that Coppola was influenced by the ideas he brings to mind. The mood of some scenes, for example, has parallels with that of film noir. After all, Coppola intends to take the audience into the weird and heavy world these doomed girls live in. Both the suicide scenes and the scene where Trip leaves Lux in the middle of the soccer field after having sex with her evoke a sense of unease and inconceivability that is definitely characteristic of film noir. The Virgin Suicides it is also influenced by themes and noir style. The film is mainly about these teenage girls who feel separated from the crowd, locked into the half reality that was their home. Everything in Lisbon’s house is drab and gray. There is never direct sunlight or high-key lighting inside Lisbon’s home. It is as if the girls are covered in cobwebs like little porcelain dolls that are kept in some basement. Coppola uses light throughout the film to symbolize life and change, such as cut-outs of outdoor shots at intervals of time with the sun shining in the background. This also shows that things outside are changing, but Lisbon girls are forced to stay stuck in their rooms.
The Virgin Suicides it also features a particularly edgy score for the time period it was meant to represent. Song titles include “Cemetery Party,” “Dirty Trip,” and “Bathroom Girl.” These are songs that Ms. Lisbon would definitely not allow her children to listen to. Coppola even emphasizes this by showing Lux burning all of her rock CDs at the hands of her mother. This represents the authority that the girls’ parents still have over their lives, but the score that continues to play throughout the film represents their struggle to make a place for themselves. Maybe the girls would have made it and were just being suffocated. However, it is more likely that the girls saw no hope in living a future that they saw as lonely, uncomfortable and unsatisfying.
The Virgin Suicides Deviations from the noir are also noted, and more modern cinematic conventions are noted. Lux Lisbon is not the classic fatal woman of film noir. She knows her sex appeal and that she can use it to her advantage, but she’s not trying to cheat on the men she sleeps with. Lux is simply trying to justify what happened to Trip. She had sex with him after their homecoming dance because she thought he cared about her, and then he left her asleep on the soccer field. Lux, who was only fifteen years old, was really affected by this. Then she reacts by trying to prove to herself that sex doesn’t mean anything. Then it would be fine if she lost her virginity to Trip for no good reason.
The story of the unfortunate sisters from Lisbon needed to be told in a modern context, while the world they live in and the experiences they have are sometimes black. Therefore, a true infusion of a few different styles and genres was required. Sofia Coppola does a wonderful job of mixing the conventions of film noir with her own thematic style in the direction of The Virgin Suicides. The music and lighting of the film are similar to the noir, as is the general theme of the film and its setting where the days mix and even the sex is meaningless. However, neither sister looks much like a classic Fatal Woman. Also, guys can be like junior detectives, but they have no ulterior motives or ulterior motives. Their respect and admiration for the Lisbon sisters is sincere, and that is something that cannot exist in a film noir.