Watch Sofia Coppola’s almost forgotten first film

The Virgin Suicides director showcases the dreamy quirks in 1998 that define her as a filmmaker today

Sofia Coppola’s visual stylings reflect a dark and hazy dream world, populated by young women who are poster-children for teen loneliness and angst. Deep neuroticisms and anxieties play out in pretty, long shots overlaid with a compelling soundtrack. Lick the Star was Coppola’s tentative 16mm debut, a year before her tale of sisterly darkness in suburbia, The Virgin Suicides, was released.

The 1998 film Lick the Star, unearthed by Indiewire, establishes the traits of Coppola films we’ve come to love, as a group of girls plan to poison some boys in school, a la Flowers in the Attic, which they’re reading in English class. After spending time off with a leg injury, Kate reflects on the fast-paced environment of high school, where queen bees can be toppled in a matter of days, and entire cliques changed forever over recess and Chinese whispers. Chloe, the girl-gang’s leader and resident mean girl, finds herself on the end of this when their scheme goes awry.

Kate and Chloe respectively showcase the many of the defining qualities of Coppola’s later female characters: the affecting loneliness and isolation of Lost in Translation’s Charlotte, and the teenage perplexity and suburban dysfunction of the Lisbon sisters from The Virgin Suicides. Its opening montage is soundtracked by The Amps, reflecting Coppola’s early experimentation with aural and visual aesthetics, and the opening car-ride imagery found its way into several of Coppola’s later works, including Somewhere

The cast is relatively unknown, bar Peter Bogdanovich and Zoe Cassavetes as the school principal and PE teacher. Watch this for a rare look at an now-established filmmaker finding her feet as an artist.