The Observer publishes an interview and profile of Sofia Coppola in its review section today. While it does a reasonable job of outlining the director’s career, it notably fails to mention one of Sofia’s earliest forays into film. I’m not talking about her disasterous performance in The Godfather Part III, but rather her shameful contribution to he 1989 portmanteau film New York Stories.
For those that haven’t seen the film, it’s three shorts by a heavyweight clutch of directors – Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola. Needless to say, being the firm believer in nepotism that he is, Francis ropes in his family to help out in his contribution Life Without Zoe. It’s the story of a hideously rich girl in uptown New York and her friendship with some little prince and is without a doubt one of the worst things ever committed to celluloid. Every single article or opinion I’ve read about New York Stories never fails to mention how utterly, utterly horrible Coppola’s section of the film is.
And rightly so, because it is bad enough to make you wish that the medium of cinema had never been created. It’s that dreadful. And strangely, the aforementioned Observer article fails to mention that Sofia co-wrote this dreadful piece of crap with her father. While I’m not the sort of person who thinks youthful mistakes should be held against a person for the rest of their lives, I’ll make an exception in this case, as Life Wihout Zoe is a crime against cinema, one of those utterly dreadful works that makes you wonder who on earth thought it would ever be a good idea.
For the record, I really liked Lost In Translation and not just because it featured Scarlett Johansson in a pair of translucent pink knickers, but even this doesn’t undo the damage done to my mind by Life Without Zoe. Sofia’s got a lot more work to do before audiences can forgive her. In her defence, she was young and didn’t know what she was doing. Her old man, however, really should have known better.