WHAT it’s about: Bullying, popularity, isolation and backstabbing. Featured around a clique of popular girls at school, led by one queen bee, it’s a darker Mean Girls before Mean Girls. Without giving too much away (the film is only 14 minutes), it’s about this film’s “Regina George” trying to take school down. Literally.
WHO’S in it: The cast was comprised of primarily unrecognised actors then who have done only little to add to their resumes to date. You might only point out Peter Bogdanovich (who was then primarily a director, though has since gone to act on The Sopranos and various TV cameos) in his role as the high school principal.
WHEN it came out: 1998.
HOW come you haven’t heard of (or just seen) it before: It’s a short film by Sofia Coppola that she released at the Venice International Film Festival a year before her debut feature-length film, The Virgin Suicides. Besides being buried behind 13 years, it’s also never been released on DVD (as far as I know). Though lucky for us, it sometimes airs on IFC and has been so conveniently uploaded to YouTube.
- This film hyperbolizes high-school-cool like no other: cigarettes, dark lipstick and swagger.
- If The Virgin Suicides let you down like it did me, then this film serves as a chance to redeem Coppola and everything you thought the Jeffrey Eugenides adaptation would have been. This film is dark, artsy and daring, like the beloved novel, but far from Coppola’s take on it that would soon follow.
- The cinematography is beautiful. Focus on details and playing with angles makes you wish you had a coffee table book of this film’s screenshots.
- Intertextuality. Let me explain (ie. let the English lesson begin). Intertextuality is when one text brings another text into it’s work and along with that, brings that text’s meaning, implications and insights along with it. It’s an extremely deep version of a reference. That being said, if you see this film, you need also read Flowers in the Attic for the complete picture.
- It’s short but so deep (see above). If you want to watch something that feels fulfilling but don’t want to invest a couple hours, then this may be what you need.