Film Noir Influence in The Virgin Suicides

Teenage suicide was not unheard of before the nineteen-nineties, but its growing instances during this period led people to acknowledge the problem. Schools even started publishing materials to educate students and parents about the phenomena. The Virgin Suicides confronts this delicate topic straightforward. Sofia Coppola blends elements of her own style with those of classic film noir to show how these young individuals become so alienated in a world they barely know or understand. Through the eyes of five sheltered teenage girls, Coppola opens up a dark universe of isolation.

From the start of the film, it is acknowledged that the five Lisbon girls all died before they made it to adulthood. A small group of boys, now men, from the Lisbon’s neighborhood have never forgotten about the mysterious sisters whom they have never come to completely figure out. One of the men narrates the film and informs the viewer that he and his friends still gather at every high school reunion and birthday party to discuss the fate of the Lisbon girls.

The film then flashes back to their childhood circa 1975, and introduces the girls as they get out of their family’s station wagon. Cecilia is the youngest at 13, preceded by Lux, Bonnie, Mary, and Therese whom were all one year older than another. All of the girls seem so young, innocent, and beautiful. However, it is soon revealed that Cecilia has just gotten out of the hospital after an attempted suicide.

Cecilia begins seeing a therapist who recommends that the strict Lisbon’s allow their daughters to have a party to cheer the girls up and enable them to interact with boys and girls their own age. Cecilia is upset by a group of her peers making fun of a child with Down syndrome. She feels that she will never really belong to society either, and so she runs upstairs and jumps from her window. Her second attempt at suicide is successful since she lands on a pointed, wrought iron fence. The rest of the film deals with the Lisbon’s struggle to cope with this new reality. In the end, the remaining sisters decide that Cecilia was right about the world being a bleak and lonely place where existence itself is futile, and so they decide to join her by taking their own lives.

Although The Virgin Suicides is by no means a classic film noir, it is undeniable that Coppola was influenced by the ideas that it brings to mind. The mood of some scenes, for example, has parallels with that of film noir. After all, Coppola intends to bring the audience to the bizarre and heavy world in which these doomed girls live. Both of the suicide scenes and the scene when Trip leaves Lux in the middle of the football field after having sex with her evoke a sense of uneasiness and inconceivability that is definitely characteristic of film noir. The Virgin Suicides is also influenced by noir themes and style. The film is primarily about these teenage girls feeling separated from the crowd, cooped up in the half-reality that was their home. Everything about the Lisbon house is drab and gray. There is never direct sunlight, or high-key lighting inside the Lisbon home. It is as if the girls are covered in cobwebs like little china dolls being preserved in a basement somewhere. Coppola uses light throughout the film to symbolize life and change, like the cuts to outdoor time-lapsed shots with the sun glowing in the background. This also shows that things outside are changing, but the Lisbon girls are forced to remain stagnant in their rooms.

The Virgin Suicides also boasts a particularly edgy score for the time period it was meant to represent. Track titles include “Cemetery Party”, “Dirty Trip”, and “Bathroom Girl.” These are songs Mrs. Lisbon would most definitely not allow her children to listen to. Coppola even makes a point of this by showing Lux burning all of her rock CD’s at the hands of her mother. This represents the authority the girls’ parents still have over their lives, but the score still playing throughout the movie represents their struggle to make a place for themselves. Perhaps the girls would have made it and they were simply being suffocated. More likely, however, is that the girls saw no hope in living for a future they saw as lonely, awkward, and unfulfilling.

The Virgin Suicides also departs from noir, and more modern filmmaking conventions are noticed. Lux Lisbon is not the classic femme fatale of film noir. She knows her sex appeal and that she can use it to her advantage, yet she is not trying to deceive the men she sleeps with. Lux is simply trying to justify what happened with Trip. She had sex with him after their Homecoming dance because she thought he cared about her, and then he just left her asleep on the football field. Lux, being only fifteen years old, was really affected by this. She then reacts by trying to prove to herself that sex means nothing. Then it would be okay if she lost her virginity to Trip for no good reason.

The story of the ill-fated Lisbon sisters needed to be told in a modern context, while the world they live in and the experiences they have are sometimes noir. Therefore, a true infusion of a few different styles and genres were required. Sofia Coppola does a wonderful job of mixing conventions of film noir with her own thematic style in the direction of The Virgin Suicides. The music and lighting of the film are akin to noir, as is the general theme of the film and it’s setting where days blend together and even sex is meaningless. However, none of the sisters quite resemble a classic femme fatale. Also, the boys may be like junior detectives, but they have no ulterior or hidden motives. Their respect and wonderment of the Lisbon sisters is sincere, and that is something that cannot exist in a film noir.

The Best Sex Position During Pregnancy

Many couples who expect to have a baby soon are afraid to have sex due to the misconception that it could cause harm to the baby. This is not entirely true. If it is a normal pregnancy without any complications, then it is okay to have sex once in a while. However, doing the best sex positions during pregnancy should be thoroughly studied by both couple to know exactly their respective roles during the sexual intercourse.

The role of the partner depends on the kind of position they want to use. Let’s take for example the spooning position. In this position, the man is the one who takes the initiative to make the thrusting motion while lying on his side behind the woman’s back. The woman’s role is merely communicate to the man if it’s getting painful or pleasurable. On the other hand, in the woman on top position, the woman is the one taking charge. She positions herself on top of the man, while dictating the rhythm of the act with the upward and downward motion of her body. Just make sure to pause for a while when it gets uncomfortable.

There are other sex positions during pregnancy which every pregnant couple can try. The important thing to bear in mind while doing the deed is to be careful, gentle, and to communicate to your partner even a small sign of discomfort. For a couple who loves each other so dearly, having sex during pregnancy will not only strengthen their relationship but will also build trust for one another.

The Turkish ‘Kinsey Report’, Part 3 – First Time Sex

Turkish Sexuality Survey Question —
How would you describe your first sexual experience?

As Metin Üstündag was saying in Part 2…

Until recently, Turkish kids got their sex education in a very haphazard manner — with mostly bad results. My generation was luckier, in some ways — because of what happened in the mid-1970’s in Yesilcam (Turkey’s Hollywood-like film capital located in Istanbul).

The Turkish Erotic Films industry was born (and thrived) during that time and it provided my generation with a sex education, of sorts — though it fell well short of being authoritative. What could we expect? In the role of our sex educator was a porn star, Aydemir Akbas (now a legitimate actor at age 70, who has more than 95 films to his credit). And when he’d leer sexily at the women in those early films, they’d immediately begin to moan with exaggerated desire. In fact, those films probably did more to a develop our sense of humor about sex, than they did to educate us about its ‘finer points’.

Headlines from the sexuality survey…

  • 6 of 10 virgin couples felt ‘excitement’ at the thought of their first sexual congress as partners.
  • 23% of those surveyed felt ‘lust’ during their first sexual experience. The second most mentioned feeling was ‘nervousness’ — noted by 10.6% of participants.
  • Of those citing a feeling of ‘lust’ during their first sexual experience, most were aged 16-34
  • Men (6.2%) more than women (4.9%) described their first sexual experiences as ‘fatiguing’.
  • Slightly more women (9.9%) than men (8.8%) described their first sexual experience with ‘repugnance, guilt, or anger.’ And…
  • Of the more educated women in the survey, one-third of High School finishers and an equal percentage of University graduates were definite in describing their first sexual experiences as ‘unpleasant’, even ‘bad’. But…
  • Men and women equally (6.8%) said their first sexual experience made them “feel safe and secure.”
  • The 4 most-favored places for first-time sex were:

    1) One’s own home (Male – 43%, Female – 82% )

    2) Someone else’s home (M – 18%, F – 7% )

    3) A hotel (M – 9%, F – 3% )

    4) A brothel (M – 20%, F – 0% )

  • First-time sex-partners fell into three main categories:

    1) Husband/wife (Male – 25%, Female – 81% )

    2) Boyfriend/girlfriend (M – 27%, F – 13% )

    3) Prostitutes (M – 27%, F – 0% )

  • Among the celebrities polled, we were drawn to the ‘first time sex’ observations of the full-blooded veteran-actress Müjde Ar and the multi-talented Hülya Avsar…

    Film and TV Actress Müjde Ar

    It’s probably not fair to generalize about men. And, I don’t believe that every pubescent child rings at the door of a brothel — though life is faster and bolder in the big cities these days. As for the subject of the first sexual experience, in my opinion, a man’s greatest fear…is that his nervousness will show!

    All-round Entertainer Hülya Avsar

    I didn’t feel any nervousness, I felt excitement. That’s got much to do with the partner you’re with — and how the man makes you feel. I didn’t suffer a bit at the crucial moment. Afterwards, I had to hear it from him that I was no longer a virgin.

    In Part 4: More headlines from the Turkish ‘Kinsey Report’ — and answers to the Sexuality Survey Question, ‘How old were you when you had your first sexual relationship?

    Click following to access a fully illustrated HTML version of Turkish Sexuality Survey — First Time Sex