Numéro : What’s your cultural world like today?
Sofia Coppola :
Cinema is still very important to me, but I don’t get to see as many movies as I’d like to – I’m a bit lazy. living in New york I like to go see exhibitions. I guess you could say that I float between art, fashion and film. I don’t want to belong to one group though, I prefer to keep my independence. I’m often drawn to things I don’t know anything about. That’s why art fascinates me. I’ve never made a video for a gallery, but I’d like to.
Who are your favourite film directors?
The French Nouvelle vague of the 1960s is still the best cinema. Those movies have had such an important impact on my style. These days I admire Jane Campion and I can’t wait to see the new series Top of the Lake. I also like Gus van sant’s films and their atmosphere.
Apart from a few exceptions, it’s difficult to get excited about contemporary cinema.
[laughs.] I can see what makes you say that. The movie business strikes me as very conservative. It’s become increasingly complicated to do unusual projects and the quality of the films inevitably suffers. personally I don’t get involved with the big studios. but I still come up against certain difficulties. some distributors saw The Bling Ring as not being accessible enough, which really shocked me. Risks are much more calculated these days. That’s why so many people have cultivated this nostalgia for the 1970s, which was the last really creative period in american movie-making. I’m just trying to carve out my own way – and by keeping my budgets at a reasonable level, I can do it. There’s no way I’m going to complain about the film industry, but you certainly can!
“It’s become increasingly complicated to do unusual projects and the quality of the films inevitably suffers.”
How do you prepare for a new film?
Generally I take a good vacation. Then I start working on several projects at once until one of them makes an impression on me. I write alone. I used to work mainly at night but now I have kids I have to force myself into another rhythm. I make myself go to the office. The writing usually takes about a year and it’s the hardest time. I fill up mood boards with visual references and ideas for shots, so my collaborators can get a precise idea of what I want.
“The French Nouvelle vague of the 1960s is still the best cinema.”
Music seems to play an important role in your creative process.
It’s very important. Not only is there a lot of music in my films, but I also listen to music while I’m writing, it stimulates my imagination. The actors like the atmosphere of the set to be close to the reality of the scenes they’re playing.
Is Hollywood part of your life ?
Not really, actually. I don't live in L.A., I don't really like tv shows. I hang out with some people from the cinema industry but finally, it's a different world.