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ACF Middlebrow #35: Metropolitan
So the most conservative notable director of the last generation is Whit Stillman, who specializes in romantic comedies that hew closer to Jane Austen or, for that matter, Trollope, than to the rather more perfervid, not to say lurid, movies to which we have become accustomed. His debut was Metropolitan, a funny, melancholy story about the passing away of the debutante balls and the gradual reduction of the WASPs to ordinary Americans. It’s a lesson to young filmmakers in how to tell a story and look impressive without a budget–it got Stillman to the Oscars, to Cannes, and it opened up a career for him. For us, it’s a wonderful reflection on young men and women at their least offensive and it sheds light on the current very online conservative factions now developing.Published in Podcasts
Here, also, are our previous two Stillman podcasts:
METROPOLITAN — Loved it the first time I saw it. Such a radical departure from the movies of the era. A movie about earnestness, and the challenge of finding integrity and character. Chris Eigeman kills in this movie (as he has in most movies he’s been in since.). Still my favorite Stillman movie.
BARCELONA — Eigeman again. Interesting movie with an unexpected twist near the end. About being a stranger in a stranger-than-you-thought land.
THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO — Didn’t much like this movie at first. But it has really grown on me in the years since. Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale make a great pair — and give some of their best work.
DAMSELS IN DISTRESS — Didn’t do much for me, I’m afraid. I’m not a big fan of modern musicals.
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP — Kate Beckinsale is brilliant. She should always work with Stillman. The best imitation Jane Austen I’ve ever seen. And the pervasive social hypocrisy running through this film never fails to crack me up.
Whit Stillman is a national treasure. I wish he’d make more films . . .