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Sofia Coppola: The Politics of Visual Pleasure

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Sofia Coppola

The Politics of Visual Pleasure

Anna Backman Rogers

200 pages, 9 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-965-3 $149.00/£110.00 / Hb / Published (November 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78533-975-2 $19.95/£15.95 / Pb / Published (November 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-966-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®



“Rogers's book led this reviewer to rewatch some of Coppola's films and decide that at least Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006) are masterpieces. What can be better than a book of criticism that leads one to revise one's own aesthetic judgments?” • Choice

“Overall, the book itself is very analytical and informative. It empowers its readers to recognize how women can be strong in films, even when the plot tries to control them. Backman Rogers’s analysis of Coppola’s works highlights how feminism shines through in a cinematic art form. This book is a must-read for those interested in seeing how women should and should not be portrayed on-screen.” • Film Matters

“With this book Rogers has produced a sophisticated and impassioned analysis of Coppola’s work… Rogers’s main argument – that Coppola manipulates pleasurable images to unsettle rather than mollify us – is utterly convincing. If nothing else, this certainly hits home in relation to my own enchantment with Coppola’s work.” • Bright Lights Film Journal

Anna Backman Rogers’ Sofia Coppola sheds light onto the intelligent and subversive workings of Sofia Coppola’s cinematic vision, that has long been dismissed and overlooked by film scholars and critics alike. At the same time, …Roger’s book offers gravity and seriousness to the academic study of the pretty filmic image. Each chapter’s subject is rigorously researched and analysed, whilst offering a meticulous theoretic approach, crafted by a constellation of appropriate theories and philosophical ideas.Frames Cinema Journal

“The author’s analysis of Coppola’s movies is strong even without her defense of the filmmaker. The points Rogers makes, regarding both form and content, validate Sofia Coppola’s placement in the history of cinema.” Hyperallergic

“This is a forceful and necessary feminist intervention in film theory; Anna Backman Rogers brilliantly carves out a space for work that is usually marginalized as pretty, as superficial, as ineffable, insisting we reckon head-on with the politics of seeing the world through a woman’s perspective. And she does it in wonderfully straight-talking prose that doesn't shy away from controversy, underlining how necessary it is to tackle these questions, now more than ever.” • Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London

“This work on Coppola makes a genuinely significant contribution to the field of film studies—the writing on The Virgin Suicides is simply the best I have read. It is a radical work, in keeping with the radical, subversive and beautiful films it does justice to.” • Lucy Bolton, Queen Mary, University of London

“Anna Backman Rogers has produced a timely, beautifully written, and trailblazing account of female authorship and femininity in contemporary cinema, full of both conviction and compassion.” • Davina Quinlivan, Kingston University


A feminist study of the mood, texture, tone, and multifaceted meaning of director Sofia Coppola’s aesthetic through her most influential and well-known films.

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2019

“With this book Rogers has produced a sophisticated and impassioned analysis of Coppola’s work… Rogers’s main argument – that Coppola manipulates pleasurable images to unsettle rather than mollify us – is utterly convincing. If nothing else, this certainly hits home in relation to my own enchantment with Coppola’s work.”—Bright Lights Film Journal

All too often, the movies of Sofia Coppola have been dismissed as “all style, no substance.” But such an easy caricature, as this engaging and accessible survey of Coppola’s oeuvre demonstrates, fundamentally misconstrues what are rich, ambiguous, meaningful films.

Drawing on insights from feminist philosophy and psychology, the author here takes an original approach to Coppola, exploring vital themes from the subversion of patriarchy in The Virgin Suicides to the “female gothic” in The Beguiled. As Rogers shows, far from endorsing a facile and depoliticized postfeminism, Coppola’s films instead deploy beguilement, mood, and pleasure in the service of a robustly feminist philosophy.

From the Introduction:
Sofia Coppola possesses a highly sophisticated and intricate knowledge of how images come to work on us; that is, she understands precisely how to construct an image – what to add in and what to remove – in order to achieve specific moods, tones and cinematic affects. She knows that similar kinds of images can have vastly different effects on the viewer depending on their context…. This monograph is an extended study of Coppola’s outstanding ability to think through and in images.

Anna Backman Rogers is Professor of Aesthetics and Culture specialising in Feminist Theory at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is the author of American Independent Cinema: Rites of Passage and the Crisis Image (2015) and the co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the experimental journal MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture.

Read author Anna Backman Rogers' interview with Dazed Magazine.

Subject: Film and Television StudiesGender Studies and SexualityCultural Studies (General)


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