Cinematography: The Virgin Suicides

THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (1999)

Director: Sofia Coppola
Cinematographer: Edward Lachman

One of the things I love about The Virgin Suicides is its cinematography. Mainly employing shades of orange and blue, Edward Lachman (Far from Heaven, Erin Brockovich) achieves a remarkable blend of impossible dreamland and overwhelming dysphoria.
Oranges…

Blues…
The morning after.
Alone again, naturally.
The color mourns with Lux (Kirsten Dunst).
Just some mundane stuff. (Also some hint of green here.)
Looks like something out of a Japanese horror movie.
A precursor to Lost in Translation maybe?
Emptiness.
Cecilia (Hanna Hall) in the tub is also one of my fave “blue” shots.
…and now for some green…
Green and orange decided to marry each other…
Miss Coppola’s trademark: sunlight peeking through the leaves.
Symmetry is also present…
Josh Hartnett’s Trip tripping around.
This stalkerish shot is from Cecilia’s bedroom. Creepy sad.
And now for some focus…
The reporter (Suki Kaiser) arrives at the Lisbons’ house. At the same time,
the newspapers’ shot tells us that the family is in a state of grief.
This shot demonstrates Miss Coppola’s nonviolent concept of violence.
Lachman’s focus on the iron fence spikes signifies Cecilia’s fate.
No gory details necessary.
An impressive shot of Trip.
This time Lachman focuses on the character’s eyes to emphasize that weed moment.
The “stairs POV” says a lot on how the characters are perceived…
Mr. Lisbon (James Woods) is dominated by his wife (Kathleen Turner),
so he’s basically someone who is “looked down” at, hence the shot.
This one exalts Lux and Mrs. Lisbon, mainly because they are not dominated by anyone. (Same thing with Scott Glenn’s priest.) Mrs. Lisbon is clearly the dominatrix; although Lux and her sisters are controlled by their mother, the boys/narrator look at the girls as some heavenly creatures. Heaven is up there. This shot is also paradoxical because it shows Lux involuntarily going down towards despair.
The neighbors’ POV…
Goodbye, neighbors,” says this shot.
This right here tells us that we are indeed the Lisbons’ neighbors;
the camera pans as the Lisbon couple departs the suburb.
The “transformation” of the Lisbons’ house is eerie…
…that is one moody house you got there.
And finally some shadows…
Lachman’s use of shadows exudes that emptiness the narrator talks about by the end of the film. Seriously, this film ain’t for the depressed, and definitely not for the suicidal.
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