Cannes: Coppola's `Marie Antoinette' earns middling response

Reaction at the Cannes Film Festival was mixed Wednesday for Coppola's "Marie Antoinette," with some admiring its youthful energy but French critics booing the American filmmaker's take on a pivotal time in France's history, the AP reports.

There were equal amounts of applause and catcalls after the first press screening of "Marie Antoinette," one of 20 films competing for the top prize at the 59th Cannes festival. Sofia's father, Francis Cord Coppola, won in 1979 with "Apocalypse Now."

Coppola initially said she was disappointed to hear about the booing, but later conceded it could be a tough sell for an American filmmaker to present her unorthodox take on a key figure in another country's heritage.

An Academy Award winner for her "Lost in Translation" screenplay, Coppola adapted her latest movie from Antonia Fraser's biography of Marie Antoinette, the 18th century queen whose extravagant ways preceded - and have been blamed for helping to incite - the French Revolution in which she eventually was beheaded.

"Marie Antoinette" features Kirsten Dunst - the star of Coppola's first film, "The Virgin Suicides" - as the Austrian aristocrat married off in a political union at age 14 to Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), heir to the French throne.

The film uses period costumes, and Coppola received permission from the French government to shoot in the palace of Versailles in the actual locations where events took place.

Yet Coppola presents the story through a 21st century filter, Marie Antoinette's party-girl ways accented by modern pop culture trappings. The driving soundtrack includes Bow Wow Wow doing "I Want Candy" and a cover of "Fools Rush In," while trendy Manolo Blahnik shoes were used to create stylized variations on designer footwear of the era, the AP reports.

"Marie Antoinette" casts the title character as a well-intentioned teen who was ill-prepared by her mother (Marianne Faithfull) to handle the pressures of court life. The film also features Rip Torn, Judy Davis, Asia Argento and Steve Coogan.

Young Marie is seen as an object of gossip over the years it took her nervous husband to consummate the marriage and produce an heir. Louis seemingly is more interested in hunting and his hobby of making keys, the AP reports.

At a news conference for the film, Coppola was asked if Marie Antoinette was an 18th century variation of the frustrated women on TV's "Desperate Housewives."