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Sofia Coppola: A Cinema of Girlhood

Sofia Coppola: A Cinema of Girlhood
Fiona Handyside

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She has received numerous accolades including an Academy Award and two Golden Globes, and in 2004 became the first ever American woman to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar. From The Virgin Suicides to The Bling Ring, her work carves out new spaces for the expression of female subjectivity that embraces rather than rejects femininity. Fiona Handyside here considers the careful counter-balance of vulnerability with the possibilities and pleasures of being female in Coppola's films - albeit for the white and the privileged - through their recurrent themes of girlhood, fame, power, sex and celebrity. Chapters reveal a post-feminist aesthetic that offers sustained, intimate engagements with female characters. These characters inhabit luminous worlds of girlish adornments, light and sparkle and yet find homes in unexpected places from hotels to swimming pools, palaces to strip clubs: resisting stereotypes and the ordinary. In this original study, Handyside brings critical attention to a rare female auteur and in so doing contributes to important analyses of post-feminism, authorship in film, and the growing field of girlhood studies.

Author Info

Fiona Handyside is Senior Lecturer in European Film at the University of Exeter and received her PhD from Queen Mary, University of London. Previous publications include International Cinema and the Girl: Local Issues, Transnational Contexts (2015) and Cinema at the Shore: The Beach in French Cinema (2014) and her research has appeared in a number of journals such as Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Studies in French Cinema and Screen.


‘In this book, Fiona Handyside does not shirk from tackling the “thorny paradoxes” in Coppola’s canon but rather weaves these issues into an insightful analysis of her films as both feminine and feminist. Written in beautiful prose, Handyside argues that the glittering, gilded cages in Coppola’s films show us the light and the dark of girlhood culture.’ – Lucy Bolton, Queen Mary, University of London; author of Film and Female Consciousness: Irigaray, Cinema and Thinking Women

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: International Library of the Moving Image

ISBN: 9781784537142
Publication Date: 29 Jan 2017
Number of Pages: 224
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: 17 black and white illustrations

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