[critical] Somewhere

Johnny Marco, author of the bad reputation lives in the hotel of the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. It is going to receive an unexpected visit : his 11 year old daughter.

Author’s Note


Release Date : January 5, 2011

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Film American

With Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius, Michelle Monaghan

Duration : 1h38min

Original title : Somewhere

Trailer :

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The pleated skirts twirl in the saturated air of a hotel room. They ascend, descend, whirl like tops fascinating, they draw white lines, which lose themselves in the spirit forlorn of Johnny Marco. Actor best known for his good looks as for his filmography, he wanders into The Chateau Marmont, a legendary hotel hollywood. Jay McInerney said of this place of worship “In a city where there is a sun-blinding, this is the darkest corner, where one has always the feeling to be at dusk, even at the edge of the pool.” Johnny is only between two shoots. It does not cross that of the ghosts in the corridors, long stems to the legs, endless, figures, disembodied because there is nothing behind their eyes. He took advantage of their hugs without being able ever to establish this contact that would heal him. Alcohol, drugs, The Chateau Marmont is not the best place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the star system. Johnny is lost in the nothingness, the frivolity of an existence without purpose. In Ferrari, it is far from The Fury Of Living , because here there is no escape. It is a vicious circle.

But an appearance comes in the context and in the life of Johnny. Cleo wakes up his father, the pulling can be a nightmare to bring it back to life. From the top of her eleven years, she is the rich Johnny who is not very present and attentive to their expectations. His mother thinking. Then during these few days she will fill in the blank. He needs her as much as she needs him. It is a transmission quiet, made of glances in the same direction. Obviously, there is something biographical in this the girl who seeks recognition in the eyes of the father, in this passage between childhood and adolescence. Cleo is a doll that does more, aware of the realities, she also knows the luxury of hotel rooms. But while she plays or draws, his father on the balcony smoking a cigarette and is picked up by an amazon who shows him her breasts.

There are three characters in this film, Johnny, Cleo and The Chateau Marmont that brought together. We cross to our delight Benicio Del Toro and our frenchi Aurélien Wiik in an evening lulled by the sound of Sébastien Tellier. At the exit of the parking lot a car fits into the opposite wall, probably in reference to Helmut Newton who died in his Cadillac. One feels this special atmosphere to large hotels in cults like the Chelsea in New York city, a mix of decadence and grandeur, nostalgic of a time gone by and yet the place of all desires. A smell of cold tobacco, chlorine, sun oil, heady scent.

It is always a question of loneliness in the films of the filmmaker, a melancholy, a melancholy throbbing. Fragrance of our time, the subject is the same as in Lost In Translation. An impossibility of being complete, the feeling of always having a lack impalpable and get lost in loopholes that are easy.

It is unfortunate that it is sometimes also explanatory. The scene of the early answers to the last film. Johnny doing laps with his car running, illustration of his existential angst. At the end it rolls on a country road, stops the engine and comes out walking towards the horizon. Cliché all too easy for us to understand that he is revealed to himself. The photography of Harris Savides (“The Yards, Elephant, Zodiac,…) makes the film less pop than in the previous ones, the production is more minimalist with long, fixed shots, and there is little dialogue. And this way of conceiving of the film may annoy because it is probably a little too arty, too formalistic, looking at the navel in the sun on a sun lounger in a mannerism supported. But Sofia Coppola happens to enter something that runs through the poisoned atmosphere of these rooms to hotels. Johnny has changed. Imperceptibly it is seen in the eyes of his daughter. I often think back to the head of Scarlett Johansson on the shoulder of Bill Murray and I’m going to like remember Stephen Dorff from adrift on an inflatable mattress yellow.

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