Since making her promising directorial debut “Palo Alto” in 2014, Gia Coppola has been slow to release a follow-up. While her next feature is still in development, Coppola stepped back behind the camera for a simple yet stylish music video, debuting exclusively on IndieWire. A member of one of the royal families of cinema, Coppola went old school for the short film, shooting in black-and-white and working with one of her aunt Sofia’s favorite actresses: Elle Fanning.
The video is being released concurrently with Fanning’s latest film, “Teen Spirit,” directed by Max Minghella. The song, “Little Bird,” was written by Annie Lennox and sung by Fanning herself.
In “Teen Spirit,” Fanning plays Violet, “a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing,” according to the film’s press release. “With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition.”
The soundtrack features Fanning’s renditions of songs by all women artists, including Ellie Goulding (“Lights”), Tegan and Sara (“I Was A Fool”), and Sigrid (“Don’t Kill My Vibe”). In addition to the covers, the movie also gave rise to “Wildflowers,” a new song written by Carly Rae Jepsen and Jack Antonoff. The original motion picture soundtrack, released by Interscope Records on April 5, also includes songs by Grimes, No Doubt, Major Lazer, and Clara Rugaard.
In the video for “Little Bird,” Coppola layers close-ups of Fanning at a microphone with tracking shots of the stage and instruments behind her. At one point, a guitar flanks Fanning’s face, and a thumping speaker keeps time in another. A smoky spotlight illuminates a circle of 1970s Missoni-inspired wallpaper behind her head. Lennox’s saturated synth beat has been sharpened into a more staccato accompaniment, updating the sound from its 1976 arrangement.
Based on James Franco’s 2010 short story collection of the same name, “Palo Alto” starred Franco alongside Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff, and Zoe Levin. The film received generally positive reviews after its Telluride Film festival premiere, with special note being taken of Coppola’s direction. Her next film, “Mainstream,” is currently in pre-production and stars Andrew Garfield, Jason Schwartzman, Maya Hawke, and Nat Wolff.
Watch Gia Coppola’s music video for Elle Fanning’s cover of Annie Lennox’s “Little Birds” below.