New Order in the court: Sofia's making the mixtape


Published October 25, 2006

Siouxsie and The Banshees. Aphex Twin. Bow Wow Wow. Vivaldi arranged by Brian Reitzell.

The track listing for the "Marie Antoinette" album soundtrack reads like a laundry list of '80s New Romantics with a splash of East Village modernity and two fingers of rerouted baroque. Maybe that's pushing it too far with the analogies. But seriously, the album is an auditory wet dream for the indie eclectic - or her favorite director, Sofia Coppola.

In all aspects, "Marie Antoinette" is Coppola's baby, a film that would quickly be labeled a period biopic save for its decidedly contemporary approach. Coppola's tribute to France's most famous and frivolous ruler is a humanist look at history's greatest fuck-ups, paired with a healthy love of synth-pop. A look at its advertising campaign will tell you that much: The poster features a punkish cut-out of the title pasted over a frou-frou Kirsten Dunst bathed in hot pink; the trailer, scenes of coronation and revolution accompanied by New Order and The Strokes.

Coppola goes for an obvious musical - and marketing - aesthetic with her song selection. She includes what she likes and knows what her demographic likes. Coppola's a middle Gen-Xer and one of most highly regarded young directors today (her oeuvre spanning a whole three feature films); as a fan, you kind of fantasize what Coppola was like growing up. Somewhere between a presumably gawky adolescence and daddy Francis casting her as Mary Corleone, there must have been some period of time where young, admirable Sofi cut her dyed hair asymmetrically, wore skinny black jeans and listened to a lot of New Order. In every generation there will be the set of kids who idolize Ian Curtis (not in New Order, obviously) or Adam Ant.

Maybe that's pushing it too far with Adam Ant. But Coppola seems like a woman used to getting her way, and what's a better show of control as a hostess than overseeing what's pumped through the speakers?

Don't dare call it background music - not only do selections like "Ceremony" and "Hong Kong Garden" both complement and drive the film, they come from some pretty good artists to begin with.