Priscilla, by Sofia Coppola, reconstructs the predatory character of Elvis with a distant gesture (***)

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We are advancing. The only thing missing is the ‘biopic‘ of Lisa Marie Presley. We already have the father’s directed last year by Baz Luhrmannnow comes the mother’s, signed by Sophia Coppola, and, if no one remedies it, the daughter’s is about to fall. Note that the two finished films are executive produced by Priscilla Presley herself. In other words, the previous work of gathering the documentation, choosing the suits and selecting the family photos is already done and in the hands of the same person. It is also true that, with a little will, you can do more. Why discard a film that values ​​the fundamental role that the poodle played in the history of rock and human ambitions, for example? Honey it was called. ‘Honey, Elvis’ poodle. There is no way to beat this title.

But let’s not get lost. ‘Priscilla‘, which is the one now, is one of those films whose containment plays against. Is not always that way. What’s more, it’s almost never like that. On the contrary, it is from that stopped, distant and slightly ironic place where one thinks and judges best. And it is clear that this was the original idea of ​​the film. Actually, everything fits. The case of Priscilla is very similar to that of the indefatigable gallery of characters that populate the filmography of the director of ‘Lost in translation’. Again, the weight of fame; again, adolescence; again, the unequal relationship between an older man and a young woman (in this case, a girl); again, a character inevitably lost, abandoned, misplaced in an excessive or too big or too luxurious or too incomprehensible (or just brutal) masculine world, and, again, music as the sounding board where words acquire their depth and weight, which does not necessarily make sense.

Priscilla and Elvis met in Germany when she was 14 and he was 24. She was the daughter of a military man and he served in the army. And from there, everything else. To say that Elvis was a child abuser and that the relationship he had with his wife and the mother of his daughter was toxic, depressing or deplorably sexist is judging. And that is what the film seems not to want to do (although it ends up doing it). The decision to look from afar, but attentive, is not only respectable, but even fair. There is too much self-righteous and Sofia, it is clear, does not want to be one of them.

In the press conference, appeared, in addition to the director, Piscilla. “It’s so hard to sit down and watch a movie about you and your life and your love. Sofia did an amazing job, she did her homework… And I really did everything I could for her.” It is curious that the former wife of Elvis spoke of the film as a tender portrait. And he even defended her ex by saying that he never had sex with her while he was a minor. And it is strange, because, at times, the movie is merciless. That of the bubble and that everyone sees what they want to see, will be true.

The film, which follows her autobiography, imposes the rules of the cinema itself that the author has endorsed so that, rather than saying anything, she only shows. And do it by giving up even the most elementary dramatic progression. ‘Priscilla‘ scrolls across the screen as a more or less disordered series of ‘living pictures‘ in which the love between them tenses and loosens to the rhythm they mark the fights, the partying with friends, the intoxication of pills, the absences due to his long filming, the episodes of adultery publicized in the press…. And always with her locked up, just like Marie Antoinette or the teenagers from ‘virgin suicides’in his particular golden cage.

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