Last May, Sofia Coppola was crowned best director by the jury at the 70th International Cannes Film Festival for her atmospheric thriller, The Beguiled. It’s the first time in 56 years that a woman has taken the top honor.
Now, Manila audiences can finally watch Coppola’s critically acclaimed gem as The Beguiled opens exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Greenbelt 1 & Trinoma) on September 6, 2017.
Adapted from the novel by Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled is a sexually charged tale that unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier (Colin Farrell). As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.
Sofia Coppola is reunited with two of her favorite leading ladies, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, and directs for the first time Golden Globe Award winner Colin Farrell and Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman. These screen veterans are backed up by an ensemble of teenage actresses who are making their marks in the industry.
Laced with elements of a taut psychological thriller, the tale unfolds in 1864 – three years into the Civil War – and is tightly concentrated in and around a Southern girls’ boarding school in Virginia where a wounded Union soldier takes refuge.
Intrigued by the story of the 1971 film The Beguiled, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood, Coppola wanted to explore the theme of women isolated during the Civil War. In writing the screenplay adaptation, she went back to the book to tell the story from the female characters’ perspective for her film.
“So The Beguiled would be a reinterpretation,” she says, “the premise is loaded because power dynamics between men and women are universal. There’s always a mystery between men and women.”
The women’s wartime lives at the school are, as the story begins, heavily ritualized. Elle Fanning notes, “They get up, they work in the garden at a certain time. There’s prayer, playing music, French lessons, dinner and bedtime. Until, everything gets shaken up; they take in the wounded soldier, and selfishness sets in.”
Producer Anne Ross concludes, “It’s rare that you see a story about women during wartime, and about how they interact with each other; in The Beguiled, Sofia is exploring both their camaraderie and their isolation.”
The Beguiled is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.