Friday, February 17, 2006

Deconstructing Stillman

I love the movies of Whit Stillman because the characters seem to exude this earnestness that used to be sort of a stereotypical American trait but now seems so foreign and charming.

Interesting thing about Stilman – other than the fact that he hasn’t made a movie in eight years – is that evidently conservatives love his movies (according to this Slate article) because "Stillman's films insist that there were (and are) true virtues in this class and its ideals."

Hadn’t really thought that deeply about them. I need to go back and watch Metropolitan, which I loved when it came out in 1990 (but there were a lot of things that I loved in 1990 that haven’t aged that well).

What I do remember was that the film sort of lamented the end of the upper classes, That sort of ennui was rampant then. I remember the novel Generation X by Douglas Coupland had that same sense of that everything was downhill from here, we’ll be the first generation not to do as well as our parents, etc. And a funny thing happened … actually lots of funny things. The Internet, the Stock Boom, 9-11 and so on. Now here we are in 2006 and the world is a very, very different looking place.

Point is maybe Stillman’s movies won’t make the jump. But their sweetness and the feeling that they are like a New Yorker cartoon come to life may save them. We’ll see.

Of course, what really made Stillman's films was Chris Eigeman, who was always the jerk you liked in spite of yourself. He's reason enough to go back and watch all of those films again.

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