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April 15 - 16, 2018

The Beguiled by Sofia Coppola

The Harvard Film Archive is pleased to welcome Sofia Coppola for a conversation about her celebrated new film The Beguiled, which earned her the coveted Best Director prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Film descriptions by Haden Guest.

Special thanks: Christina Gan and Chase Sui Wonders.

Sunday April 15 at 7pm

The Beguiled

Directed by Donald Siegel. With Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman
US 1971, 35mm, color, 105 min

The most unusual of the five features directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood is certainly The Beguiled, a psychosexually overheated Gothic fever dream that imagines the South as a decadent morass of aberrant violence and incestuous desire. The enigmatic morality and motivation of the “Man with No Name,” played earlier by Eastwood in his three Sergio Leone Westerns, is extended into his depiction of a wounded yet cunning Union soldier determined to take full advantage of his assumed status as a wily fox in an overcrowded chicken coop. The tables keep turning dizzyingly as dark secrets are revealed through purloined letters and jarring flashbacks, and as the women are gradually united, in fear and anger, by a thirst for revenge.

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$12 Special Event Tickets
Sofia Coppola in Person

Monday April 16 at 7pm

The Beguiled

Directed by Sofia Coppola. With Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst
US 2017, DCP, color, 94 min

Sofia Coppola’s newest film is a lush period piece set in the South during the twilight of the Civil War and focused, like other of her films, upon a group of willfully independent females: the teachers and young pupils of a private girls’ school housed on a remote plantation estate ever closer to the expanding battlefield. The Beguiled is a nuanced yet pointed reimagining of the 1966 Thomas P. Cullinan novel, which was first adapted for the screen by Don Siegel and starred a young Clint Eastwood as awounded Union soldier nursed by the women only to become an unexpectedly destructive force within their hidden world. Coppola carefully lowers the feverish temperature of the earlier film to define a more distant stance that better observes the women as a group while also subtly questioning the cinematic reconstruction of the historic past. Paired against Colin Farrell’s Irish soldier as the film’s obscure amorous object are the tightly corseted Nicole Kidman and Coppola regular Kirsten Dunst as a wistfully lonely schoolmarm. The immersive interiority inhabited by many of Coppola’s films is deepened by the richly sensual world of the The Beguiled’s cloistered school, in which satin and candlelight, blood and soil are imparted with an almost elemental force that imparts subtler meaning to her characters’ strategic habitation of their contested space. Coppola’s innovative adaptation is carefully subtractive, pointedly removing signature elements of Siegel’s film in order to focus upon a languid world out of time, singularly created and defended by her headstrong women. DCP courtesy Universal.

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