Saturday, March 17, 2012

Whit Stillman returns with Damsels in Distress

A big profile in the NYTimes magazine. Very few things are harder than a career as an auteur in independent film.

An earlier post (2009) on this blog, with an interview.

Whit Stillman wrote and directed the trilogy Metropolitan, Barcelona and Last Days of Disco, three of my favorite movies. It's been 10 years since his last film and I've often wondered what became of him.

This Stillman fan echoes Charles Murray on WASP morality:

Whit Stillman primer: ... For the few that might identify with the characters in any of these films, it might be easy to view the Stillman catalogue with nostalgia. But to accept that these are just love letters to some young white kids with lots of money and east coast pedigrees is to miss the larger point. Our soap operas tend to treat the wealthy as deviants, yet the morality we see here is usually reserved for middle class social climbers with prudish attitudes towards sex and a protestant work ethic. It’s a fascinating counter-narrative to the hi-jinks of the Gossip Girl kids and does make you wonder whether or not the obsession with purity and virtue is part of the joke for Stillman. The three movies have also become portraits of a different time and are illustrative of the consistent anxiety and paranoia present for those at the top. Ultimately, we don’t have to feel sad for our protagonists (what would the 99% think after all?), but we can enjoy the dialogue and wonder whether or not types like these really existed. And they’re still funny too.


Fred__R said...

I liked this review of Metropolitan:

RKU1 said...

Well, I'll admit I once tried watching one of Stillman's films on Netflix.  But after about twenty minutes it proved so deadly dull I just gave up...

One really odd thing I noticed was his very strangely articulated and enunciated dialogue.  I've known lots of WASPs, but I've never known anyone who actually spoke like that in real life.  Maybe it's a secret way they talk when they're sure no one else is around...

Fred__R said...

Yeah the dialogue is very artificial and not "naturalistic".  Definitely not for everybody.

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