Adapted from Jeffrey Eugenides’ 1993 novel of the same title, The Virgin Suicides by Sofia Coppola (1999), cinematography by Ed Lachman, screenplay by Coppola, concerns the demise of the five adolescent Lisbon sisters in Detroit’s suburbia of the seventies with the elm-trees dying and a serious environmental concern setting in. A group of schoolboys, strongly attracted by the beautiful creatures, watch them closely to spy on their personal moments trying to make sense of the mystery and ambiguities surrounding their life, and end up being the object of the girls’ and the spectators’ gaze. Events and states-of-mind in the film are associated with famous paintings of the past stored in the collective memory with the effect of producing some form of dialogue between cinema and painting, while the tropes of transience and permanence at work in life, art, and Nature sanction the inevitability of vanishing, but also the continuity, of cinema itself.
Stefanelli, M.A. (2015). “Permanence and Transience in Sofia Coppola's 'The Virgin Suicides'”. RSA JOURNAL, 26, 39-60.