Video by Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola directs an ethereal gem for the band Phoenix


BY: Howard Karren

To say that Sofia Coppola is a fan of Phoenix is a bit of an understatement: she’s married to the band’s lead singer, Thomas Mars. Sofia’s brother Roman has shot some of Phoenix’s music-videos in the past, but for the song “Chloroform,” from the band’s 2013 album, Bankrupt!, which Coppola particularly liked, she did the music-video herself. Though she’s a celebrated feature filmmaker (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, Somewhere, The Bling Ring) from a family of cinema notables, she had never directed any music-videos before this one. She was inspired by a photo by Joseph Sterling from his collection, The Age of Adolescence, of a teenage girl overcome with emotion. And in the music video, the band is seen mostly in silhouette in the dark, and a few members of the audience, all pretty girls shot in slow-motion, dimly lit black and white, are seen sobbing to Thomas Mars’s singing about love.

“I wanted to show that they were at a Phoenix concert, but keep them afar and mysterious, and have the focus be on the girls,” Coppola told Anne Morra, a film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, at the video’s premiere there. “I wanted it to be a fantasy of young girls fixated on a band they love, and try to capture that feeling I remember of seeing bands when I was a kid, when you could totally lose it—to play up the band as close but out of reach…. I always like the idea of longing.”