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I. The story
Virgin Suicides film directed by Sofia Coppola in 2000 is based on the novel titled itself: The Virgin Suicide, published in 2000, written by Jeffrey Eugenides. Jeffrey Eugenides is based on a true story that occurred in 1970 in the State of Michigan in the posh Grosse Pointe. That year, five teenage sisters then commit suicide, causing shock and incomprehension.
In the novel, which was faithfully presented on the screens by Sofia Coppola (released in September 2000), former neighbors, the age of the Lisbon sisters, always in love with girls they spied constantly on the long -to decide, after twenty years, to investigate why they have ended their days. They question all persons who had information about them: their parents, former neighbors, their orthodontist, the "heartthrob" of the school, while in rehab. Recent evidence they gather, gossip, telephone conversations, confessions from life, medical reports collected at the time they wanted to know everything about girls. They even steal the diary of the youngest suicide. In a polyphonic narrative combining all these voices, they trace the course of girls' lives during those 13 long months, providing as much information as possible about their privacy (underwear, habits, color of their lipstick) and their behavior outside (leisure, relationships, attitudes in class ...).
The story begins with the discovery of the youngest sister, Cecilia, who tried to end her life by cutting the veins in his bath. After this tragedy, the parents decide to allow more freedom to their daughters and everything seems to brighten, but only during the feast given by the girls, Cecilia jumps out the window of his room and turns off permanently. The family is then totally shattered and their relations are deteriorating gradually. Both girls and parents fall into the abyss of depression, the house is increasingly neglected and girls gradually become isolated, cut all contact with their classmates, they become untouchable, only the school psychologist maintains intercourse with them. The situation is improving and the girls seem to take interest in life when Lux met Trip Fontaine, the seducer, and where her sisters reconnect with their social environment.
The high school prom is the highlight of their revival, as they finally come out having fun like all girls their age, accompanied by high school boys. But everything changes when on the same evening, Lux sleeps out and falls into the arms of Trip, disobeying the rules imposed by her mother. Furious, Mrs.. Lisbon decides to withdraw girls from school and their denial of contact with the outside. They are then trapped, and try for a time to break their boredom without success. Desperate, they find a loophole in death, and, while boys pick them and take them to Florida, they commit suicide one after another the same evening.
Lisbon is a family with two parents and five daughters.
The father, Mr. Lisbon, is a dreamer and liabilities that feels lost and does not fit in that nest of young girls in flower, so it is discreet and unobtrusive. In his testimony, "the smell of these cloistered girls had begun to bother him." However, he loved his daughters and tried hard for them: prepare for an evening Cecilia, allowing them to go all four high school prom ...
But after the death of Cecilia, he loses touch with reality: he talks to the flowers, it no longer recognizes her daughter and her hand in greeting.
This lack of authority is offset by the authority of Mrs. stifling. Lisbon.
"Mrs.. Lisbon displayed a coldness of Queen."
Devout Catholic, she is extremely tight: his daughters can come out to go to school and to church. They are under the constant supervision of their mother (who plants a needle in feet Lux because it shows off too in the presence of Trip, his friend).
She checks their dress, their actions, fearing exposure of their budding femininity (she turns them into "bags" for the ball). She is sadistic with his daughters. After the lapse of Lux force it to burn her rock records and all receivership.
The girls are all blonde with blue eyes forming a unit in which they merge, although they are all different.
Cecilia is the youngest. Aged thirteen, she is the first to attempt suicide and succeed. It is mystical (religious and away from reality: it features the same old wedding dress in the thirties). She is always very quiet and has a strange behavior: "It was like she was crazy." His death will affect her sisters who are self-exclusion from the group at school.
Lux (light) is fourteen, she embodies beauty and sexual desire. But she suffers from hysterical teenager, she seduces any young man and has many adventures with total strangers (for example, a pizza delivery man). It is nevertheless sometimes very cold and extreme hardness.
Bonnie has fifteen years. It is the most pious and wisest of girls and more introverted (eg, at a dinner where one of their classmates is encouraged that she prays for her sisters amuse themselves seduce him).
Mary was sixteen: she is the most elegant and flirtatious girls and is also compared to Audrey Hepburn in one of the boys.
Theresa has seventeen years, she is the most mature and most widely grown daughters. She often helps her parents in household chores.
The five girls are complementary and mutually supportive. When they return to school after the suicide of Cecilia they become inseparable, forming an impenetrable barrier to the other students and become untouchable.
The merger between the girls is the result of a passionate and vital link that compensates for their lack of love.
Indeed, their family situation is a source of misery and suffering in various ways.
3. The psychological analysis
The théory of RD Laing (Ronald David Laing, David Cooper, one of two British psychiatrists at the origin of the movement they called anti-psychiatry "movement that shook traditional psychiatry) provides valuable insights for understanding their suicide. According to his theory, the child's personality is the result of conditioning and family relations. He developed a study of the causes of dementia varied beliefs that terminates the seventies : Then we made the insane somehow responsible for their folly. His research lead to the conclusion that family transfers its various neuroses of one of its members much more sensitive and fragile than the other. It internalizes and becomes the the "node" of family problems.
Thus, Mrs.. Lisbon's behavior is harmful to the balance of his children, because a little girl builds its emotional universe with the love of his mother.
The fact that it is sadistic to her daughters and she fears their femininity, engenders in them a hatred and, nevertheless, a very strong love for one that is a model and an icon is crucial to build and play their physical transformation ( namely their mother). This leads to hate a part of herself, and a lack of self esteem and a fear of growing up in a reality that they have only partial access "girls never went out except for go to mass and high school "," we just want to live, if we are allowed, "Lux said in the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Their mother is a convinced Catholic. Perhaps to atone for past sins, the guilt she transmits to his daughters that she receivership to punish Lux, and keep them with her. Similarly, restricting all their pleasures by prohibiting them from dating, to have fun, to live their lives ...
This rejection of a communication with the outside is reflected in girls by a fold in on themselves after the death of Cecilia. Any attempt to approach the narrators have been exhausted.
In this construction of female identity, the father also plays a big role, because it is the guarantor of authority in the family and often offsets the natural hatred of the girl to her mother. But the Lisbon sisters are in need of mother love and father can not compensate, because even if he loves his daughters, he did not really have a role in this family, he feels uncomfortable in this "nest of young girls in flower" where "the presence of some boys was missing."
It does not occupy the traditional place of the father, he confided all such decisions to his wife: "I'll talk with their mother, I'll do what I can," he replied to a young man who wishes to refer his Lux girl at the high school prom.
Girls can feel a strong love for the father too low, who takes refuge in his passion for science and that, after the death of Cecilia will gradually lose all sense of reality and become increasingly remote ( he will eventually talk to the flowers, and no longer recognize her daughters).
Because of this father too unassuming, the Lisbon sisters lack confidence in them. Indeed, the image of the father is psychologically integrated by the superego.
Their fragility is expressed in various ways among girls and two major divisions exemplify the node suffering borne by the family atmosphere it creates and neuroses: Lux and Cecilia.
Lux has no consideration for herself, she constantly devalues:
"I always spoil everything. Always".
The lack of recognition and love from her parents, she makes up for the enjoyment of sex. It is the only one to break the rules because she smokes and attends boys, so she tries to escape his submission, and feel freer.
Cecilia is a completely introverted teenager. She feels an unhealthy pleasure in dwelling on the misfortunes of the world: she draws whales spitting blood in her diary and we lament the destruction of nature by man. Nature is a victim of human cruelty, as she herself is a victim of the cruelty of his mother. Her compassion leads so fascinated and the irrational destruction (mystical music, wedding dress).
Girls, have no experience of the outside world because they are accustomed to being directed and supervised without taking into account their desire or their personal development. They were weakened by their lack of confidence and lack of experience, once locked, they try to escape through reading travel brochures and communicating with their neighbors, the narrators, with messages in walrus or disks in fashion, which are only substitutes for escape and which do not lead to any release.
If they do not run away, it's because they feel too weak to face a reality that they have never learned to adapt. In addition they see their own parents and family relations deteriorate gradually, they are left their brotherly love that is expressed by their unit. But this unit will turn against them too and away a little over their environment.
They no longer have the strength to survive and escape, they are disillusioned and disgusted by their existence that they can take control as they have always been overwhelmed by the authority of their mother. Since there seems to be no end to their torture (which is reflected in their sequestration), they no longer want to continue to suffer.
They decide to escape by suicide as they develop a film script, causing a real coup de theater, as a message to finally unveil their suffering in the open.
Their departure time with the boys is a metaphor for their departure to the afterlife ...
II. Analysis of the artists'
1. Recreated a reality
We then interested in the creative process of artists. Indeed they are based on a true story, they create no less a fiction. They have indeed, the original story than what the media published and not enough for them to tell the story of the Lisbon family and their entourage. Thus, although they are based on a true story they retain some latitude of imagination.
Jeffrey Eugenides has chosen for his novel an external perspective to the heroines: the narration is done through the eyes of young boys in the neighborhood of the Lisbon family. However, this choice clearly has implications for the narrative technique of the writer and director who has chosen to respect this narrative choice. The story elements are given to us as witnesses without any form of explanation, as a series of clues that we need to analyze ourselves to understanding the history of heroines. This results in the identification details and the absence of any comments other than those of the narrators-investigators.
From this perspective, he reconstructs the story of the sisters then Lisbon and, because it is a true story, it also recreates the reality of the seventies. Doing almost never break explanatory in the novel or the movie, the writer and director use codes known to the public so that it can represent part of the story: dress codes, for example, typical of the seventies ten in the U.S., vocabulary, music ... which from the beginning of the story allow us to define the spatiotemporal context.
He then explained through pictures and agreed to the commonplaces of literature and cinema. The first scenes are, for example, a highly traditional "Sunday Morning in mainstream America," on Sunday mornings from middle America who is also represented in the novel. There are also classical representations of the American School and transparent references to cliches about America and its self-righteous hypocrisy, Trip Fontaine's character is he the archetypal seducer of teenage girls, both "bad boy "sporty and flirty it is part of the traditional world of adolescence in the United States and is a recurring character on the subject of movies. Sexual initiation in the car, "horsing and petting" ritual scene of all is also present. The first five girls shoes in the entrance, custom imported from the Southern States of America or the homosexual father of Trip Fontaine, illustration of sexual liberation, are further examples of the representation of American society to through details identifiable by all.
Wanting to tell a realistic story, the artist must then ensure that his characters are also, it must make them act according to the rules of psychology, so it uses the concepts we have mentioned above and must send them discretely to meet its narrative choice. Psychological imbalance of the mother does not appear so obvious but many details allow us to perceive after consideration: overreaction or offset its like when after the first suicide attempt Cecilia, while she rescue her daughter emmènent he brings his bathrobe. But also, less obvious but more telling, his lack of social life as it never shown outside the family. The merger is fraternal heroines, she evoked by their representation in semi-permanent group and the similarity of their garments which, added to their physical resemblance, makes them almost identical. The disorder in the house is one of the first signs of disconnection from reality of the family that can also be seen as a representation of his mental disorder.
Finally, as artists, both authors develop an aesthetic all their own and thus give a particular coloration to the reality they seek to represent.
We note, for example, in both works, the scene where teenagers communicate disks interposed which was not essential to the narrative. In Sofia Coppola, it can also evoke the golden light bathe in which certain scenes that seem so unreal and in the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides one is struck by the beauty of the descriptions of an ordinary suburban house.
2. A reality transfigured
In light of this analysis of the approach of artists inspired by the reality, we realize that through their works they do more than represent reality, they recreate.
And this is obviously not without consequences.
The accuracy of the spatio-temporal context, added to the external focus of the narrative allows us to identify the group of narrators and share their emotions and fascination for Cecilia, Lux, Bonnie, Mary and Theresa.
If we can share this fascination, it is also thanks to the classic representations of American society chosen by the artists, allowing them to deride and led their audience to feel the irony: the irony is frequently present in both works, with, for example, the neighborhood gossip, ridicule of the gap between media portrayal of teen suicide by journalists discolored, too made-up, desperate for hearing and painful reality. Or with this staunch bourgeois caricature of American hospitality that distributes refreshments while the ladies of the neighborhood gathered to watch their husbands pull the grid on which Cecilia died impaled. Virgin Suicides also appears as a critique of American society.
It is through this disappointing and negative connotation of American society that makes us hope for a hand, a better, we are surprised and fascinated by these heroines who escape this reality and appear to do the heavy prodigy to evade the weight of society.
For Jeffrey Eugenides and Sofia Coppola, the five sisters are not just teenagers who are unable to escape from a mother who denies them a normal life, they are also, because we observe them from outside, and if anything they have this double dimension that is because the artist does not just want to show the reality, it interprets it and none of his choice is neutral: most elements of reality have a symbolic dimension in the culture and the collective imagination. The pink room symbol of sweetness and childhood, the unicorn, mythical animal, the emblem of the dream of magic but also the emblem of purity and virginity in the tales of the Middle Ages. The most blatant example of the significance of multiple choice of artists is probably the white dress the heroines almost always, it also evokes purity, virginity and that, added to the title, which the French translation would be "The Virgin Suicides "It evokes the sacrifices of antiquity that were intended to save the rest of the community. But here, the artist suggests instead that this tragedy marked the decline of the community of "Grosse Pointe", and sisters bathed in childhood, mysticism, and imagination seem to have been sacrificed not on behalf of company but rather on behalf of an ideal incompatible with reality in which they could not fit. They symbolize so for we who belong to this reality, the ideal and the absolute which we had to make our grief we feel for them and admiration, envy but also the discomfort that we feel towards those who have the courage to refuse to obey the rules.
We now understand that beyond the psychological analysis of an item, the criticism of a society that makes cruel hypocrisy, the authors take us back to our youth and rekindle in us the fascination and desire for universal the absolute purity, the ideal that never go out really. The narrators are also adults that actually happened to these teenagers, but adults memories thanks to the boys again become fascinated by the universe unknown but purer than necessarily represent their beautiful surrounding. For them and for us who share their views, the Lisbon sisters become throughout the narrative, this absolute, this addition: originally, the artist makes them different from their parents already, and something supernatural seems therefore be the source of their creation that does not obey the laws of genetics, and gradually they escape more to reality and when at the end of the story they are staying home from escaping more than through catalogs, they live entirely in an imaginary world in which the heroes are trying to reach them by buying the same catalogs. They died before he really belonged in reality to make ends immaterial and makes them fascinating myth foretold as The Virgin Suicides unsuited to a mere chronicle of various makes and delighted them already their actual identity.
That is why although suicide seems to positively connoted, this work is not an apology for suicide but a critique of reality because the heroines have not committed suicide the realism of the other characters.
Through the eyes of their narrators, both artists give their accomplishments, and transform a universal reality of a fact in a variety of modern art, a work in interaction with his audience that the symbols found in his own dream elsewhere.
Through the eyes of their narrators, the two artists (Jeffrey Eugenides and Sofia Coppola) to give a universal accomplishments, and transform the reality of a news item in a work of modern art, a work in interaction with his audience that found in these symbols, moreover, his own dream.