A soundtrack about a historical and classic period portraited in a film with indie rock, punk and electronics? Only Sofia Coppola really did it in her “Marie Antoinette”, a pop version of the woman who lost her head in the French revolution, starring Kirsten Dunst. The movie released in 2006 became a hit among the ’90s and the 2000s generations. The album includes iconic bands from the 80s or with the aesthetics of those years, the best of the post-punk era, and also electronics bands of the 90s.
The film tells the story of the young queen of 18th century France, Marie Antoinette, an Austrian princess who is sent as a teenager to France to marry Prince Louis XVI, as part of an agreement between the countries. At Palace of Versailles court she is involved in strict rules of etiquette, fierce family disputes and unbearable gossip, a world in which she has never felt comfortable.
Practically exiled, she decides to create a separate universe within that court, in which she can have fun and enjoy her youth. Only, outside the palace walls, the revolution can no longer wait to explode. Going through great turbulence, Antonieta lost a son in the middle of the French Revolution.
The motion picture soundtrack album (double CD) is composed by twenty-six tracks. It opens with the powerful “Honk Kong Garden”, by Siouxsie and The Banshees (and which in the film serves to set the ballad of a masquerade) and ends with “All Cat’s Are Gray”, by The Cure in a dense phase (taken from the album “Faith”).
Among the best songs are “Natural’s not in it” by Gang of Four, “Ceremony” by New Order, “Plainsong”, the beautiful song from the album “Disintegration”, by The Cure, “What Ever Happened” by the Strokes. “I want candy” by Bow Wow Wow is played during one of the most interesting moments of the movie, when Maria Antonieta enjoys purchasing luxurious clothes, jewellery and shoes, with her friends, and also eat a lot of fancy sweets, showing a tedious and greedy Queen looking for fun. That’s is the Sofia Coppola’s direct reference to “Let Them Eat Cake”, the famous and outrageous phrase that the Queen supposedly said to the French people who suffered from the lack of food.
The double CD also contains exciting extra-pop passages such as the American harpsichordist Patricia Mabee, the pianist Dustin O’Hallopran, and “Tristes Apprêts, Pâles Flambeaux”, from the opera “Castor et Pollux”, by Jean Philippe Rameau, and Swedish indie rock group The Radio Dept that plays “I don’t like it like this”.
The good selection of songs signed by Kevin Shields (who also is responsible for “My Bloody Valentine” and “Lost in Translation”(Sofia Coppola’s movie as well) is worth to have a careful look at it right now.