On Top of the World

Well behaved women rarely make history.

Lost in Transition; why Sofia Coppola should direct Twilight

I spent a lot of yesterday thinking about this article indicating that the final Twilight movie(s) could be directed by an Academy Award nominee. And when I say thinking I really mean laughing. A lot. In discussion one commenter suggested Quentin Tarantino based on the almost as hilarious news he’s considering a rom-com, but qualifying that “QT is too god for this fuckery”. Which he admitted was a typo but we agreed a reasonably accurate one and now I want it on a bumper sticker (yes, those who know me, I don’t really swear, but QT does so it’s okay). Anyway, back to the allegedly real options. When I actually thought about it (here meaning think not laugh) I realized:

1. Gus Van Sant is really good at making movies in which absolutely nothing happens.
2. Sofia Coppola is really good at making movies in which things happen to young women.

I don’t know Bill Condon’s work but based on the above he may be a good fit, too. And without going into spoilers, certain aspects of the franchise finale just might work better under Tarantino’s helm. Or James Cameron who actually likes blockbusters surrounding love stories. Or say, Tim Burton. I almost kinda wish Tim Burton had been tapped from the beginning, I want to see his Forks. Or imagine Alfonso Cuaron with the love triangle.

But Sofia Coppola. That’s actually brilliant.

Bella is the epitome of Girl To Whom Things Happen. My husband and I have discussed at length that if Meyers’ intent were to write a vampire story from the point of view of the victim — well, that’s actually a neat idea. But Bella isn’t just the victim of a vampire. Bella is a victim of life. She exists to be in danger and it is stressed that she is clumsy and unlucky and untalented so she can’t be expected to save herself. Anything she does of her own free will is done to further victimize herself. As a feminist and mother of daughters, this is infuriating. It is even more infuriating that it is ostensibly her story. You could say that Cho Chang, for example, exists to be the Love Interest and doesn’t do anything for herself — but she’s a footnote in Harry Potter’s story. Bella Swan is the main character of the Twilight saga and yet she barely asserts herself on the story. And when she does it is because Edward or Jacob won’t do it for her so she does everything she can to force them to. It’s almost the direct opposite of what I want in a heroine. But wow, wow, do I want to see what Sofia would do with her! This is what her films are about. I think I could almost appreciate Bella Swan through the lens of Sofia Coppola.

Now I’m going to be really disappointed she’s not directing.

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4 Comments»

  madmarvelgirl wrote @

I’m only about halfway through the first book, but I’m sort of unduly fascinated with Bella. I don’t necessarily like her, but I remember the time in my life when I wasn’t that far from being her.

I’ve been wondering if it’s understandable for her to emerge as a heroine for girls who feel lied to by girl-power narratives. This is hard for me because, as you know, I *love* girl power narratives, but I don’t know how they answer the response, “If I’m going down a street by myself and someone starts chasing me, I *do* feel helpless, and I’m not getting out of there without someone to save me.” I mean, rescue fantasies are valid fantasies, too, right?

I’m not saying, at all, that I think Bella is the right answer to that, but in a way she is *an* answer, and without having a better, honest answer, I can’t dismiss it out of hand.

Though it’s entirely possible that most readers think Bella’s a stupid lame-o and they’re only reading because they want Edward for themselves (for some reason) and think they can do better. IDK.

  Magnet Girl wrote @

I can’t wait for you to read the second book. It is on my list of ten worst in all of literature (my daughter refused to read past chapter 2, she is one of the target audience who thinks Bella is a stupid lame-o) BUT Bella starts to overidentify with various heroines in books past *herself* and everything you said here is very valid in relation.

  madmarvelgirl wrote @

I think the ‘stupid lame-o’ reaction says good things about your daughter. I’m not sure *I* would have been so enlightened as a teen.

  Ping-back Alert « On Top of the World wrote @

[…] 3. Bill Condon will be directing Breaking Dawn. I still don’t know his work and therefore have no comment (beyond being slightly sad it is not Sofia Coppola). […]


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