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MARIE ANTOINETTE

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Despite shooting at Versailles and other atmospherically rich historical French locations, Sofia Coppola set out to bring her own distinctively contemporary style to the storytelling. She always had a very strong vision of how she wanted the film to look and feel – inspired by the sensual delights of the mouth-watering colors and decadent fashions that brought Marie Antoinette solace. Long before production began, she created collage books that reflected the core of the film's aesthetic.

"I definitely didn't want your standard, generic, period look with the standard rented costumes,” she explains. "I really wanted to do this my own way with hair, makeup and costumes that feel completely unique to this movie.”

In collaboration with cinematographer Lance Acord, production designer KK Barrett and costume designer Milena Canonero, Coppola developed a palette that defies the usual gloomy, hazy look of the past – and instead bursts with bright, light, sherbet-like colors and downright mod photography. As Marie Antoinette grows up, becomes a mother and heads to her artistic retreat at Le Petit Trianon, the style shifts into more naturalistic colors and lighting, only growing a bit darker and more austere in the final chapter of Marie Antoinette's life at Versailles, as the revolution looms and Marie Antoinette finds the courage of adulthood.

Coppola says of her overall concept: "It was very much a girlish fantasy – every frame was filled with beautiful flowers, enormous cakes, silk and tassels.” Antonia Fraser, who spent years researching Marie Antoinette's life, was astonished by the completeness of Coppola's vision. "I adore the look of the film,” she says. "I thought it was magically beautiful. It's something film can do that I could never do. I can write page after page about the beauty of Versailles and the grace of Marie Antoinette, but on film it's so much stronger."

Reuniting with Coppola after LOST IN TRANSLATION, cinematographer Lance Acord was drawn to the challenge of doing something new and innovative with a usually staid genre. "Sofia and I talked a lot about how you can make a period movie without falling into the conventions of period films,” he says. "From our earliest discussions, Sofia and I agreed that we wanted to avoid making paintings but instead create a very imaginative, personal, alive story inside a real historical past.”

"We embraced a bright, high key, approach to the lighting,” he continues. "So often in period films the locations, furnishings, and costumes are distressed and the mood is dark, cold, and dreary. Marie Antoinette lived in a world of luxury goods. Everything from her furniture, to her wardrobe and bedding was to be fresh and new. The color palette was inspired by Ladurée macaroons. We were excited by the idea that we could open this world up, make it brighter, more ‘Pop.'”

Acord and Coppola, who have developed their own special communication when they collaborate, continued to evolve their partnership on MARIE ANTOINETTE. "We've never really worked from storyboards. Usually the actors would rehearse and then we would take into account the emotion in the script, location, lighting, and decide how to shoot the scene,” says Acord. "It's a more intuitive process of observation and discovering things as they present themselves to you. Sofia, in her own quiet way, has a very clear and artful understanding of what she wants and she really trusted me to help create that.”

Meanwhile, production designer Barrett, who also collaborated with Coppola and Acord on LOST IN TRANSLATION, saw his role as creating a kind of infinite pastel bubble of surface beauty around Marie Antoinette. He too was excited by Coppola's fresh vision of recreating history. "It was clear right from the start that Sofia was going to take a very impressionistic appr

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