Marie Antoinette (2006)

Directed by Sofia Coppola

An Austrian teenager marries the Dauphin of France and becomes that country's queen following the death of King Louis XV in 1774. Years later, after a life of luxury and privilege, Marie Antoinette loses her head during the French Revolution.

The prejudice against explicit representation of politics goes back very far in Hollywood [and] there is nothing especially contemporary about the general pattern. But there is, I would suggest, at least one new strategy for taking what would otherwise be a very political subject and somehow destroying or undermining its political message. This is a strategy of omitting large chunks of actual “history,” while at the same time willfully creating confusion or ambiguity about the historical significance of the film. I offer here [as an example] Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette […].

The film makes little effort to inform the audience about the world-historic social and political significance of the French Revolution, and the most obvious thing to say is that Marie Antoinette, the movie, is most definitely not a history lesson. [But] Coppola does not merely leave larger historical and political information out of the film, information that might have clarified the circumstances with which the young Marie Antoinette had to cope. In addition, Coppola plays with the temporality of the film both aurally and visually, as if to willfully subvert any kind of linear historical reasoning. Aurally, the sound track is almost entirely drawn from contemporary rock and rap. Visually, there is the famous shot of a pair of sneakers among Marie Antoinette’s vast and precious collection of period footwear (see Figure 1). The “rock star” reference in the box copy was not an accident.

— Sherry B. Ortner, Not a History Lesson: The Erasure of Politics in American Cinema (2013)