Sofia Coppola Hasn't Heard Of The Bechdel Test
Sofia Coppola, scion of the Coppola film oligarchy and lover of pale women everywhere, has been in a bit of controversy lately because of her decision to feature only white women in her most recent movie The Beguiled. Sofia Coppola has never featured anyone but white women in her movies, but what sets The Beguiled apart is both the time period and the source material. The Beguiled takes place during the Civil War but features not a single black woman because, for Coppola, she "wasn’t really looking at the political aspects" of the story, as explained to Buzzfeed News.
Keep in mind the original book and 1971 film adaptation include a black female slave character named Hallie. For Coppola, though, "[Hallie’s] story’s [is] a really interesting story, but it’s a whole other story, so I was really focused on these women." By "these women," she refers to the cabal of exclusively white women who live in an abandoned, cloistered all-girls school during the last days of the Confederacy.
Coppola recently spoke with GQ about the film, and she revealed she's never heard of the Bechdel Test. The Bechdel Test, for those of you equally in the dark, is a now-famous test coined by graphic novelist Alison Bechdel that examines whether a narrative work has a) at least two named female characters in it, and b) whether those two women talk to each other about something other than a man.
The test, which first appeared in a 1985 comic strip and has since gone full zeitgeist, is often used as a rough yardstick to gauge how well female characters are represented in a work of fiction. It's also the very first thing mentioned in Coppola's GQ interview:
GQ: I loved The Beguiled. Would you say this is the rare feminist film that struggles to pass the Bechdel test? Sofia Coppola: The what test?
GQ: The Bechdel test.
I've never heard of that. What's that?
In other news, The Beguiled was filmed at the same plantation house in New Orleans featured in Beyonce's Lemonade, the 2016 treatise on the generations-deep systemic oppression of black women in America.