Athens International Film Festival

The Master of Sophisticated Comedy

If you’ve always wondered about the selective kinship between Woody Allen and Wes Anderson films, then Whit Stillman is your missing link. “Metropololitan”, Stillman’s first self-penned feature, made quite the entrance in 1990, eradicating everything you ever knew about indie comedies with its radical mixture of humor, quirkiness and social criticism. His style – already heavily evolved for a first-time director – included brilliant, lightning-fast dialogue almost a decade before Aaron Sorkin imposed his Oscar-winning rhythm, a highly stylized approach and a self-referential attitude that’s now adopted by even the lowest-common-denominator sitcoms that would like to believe they’re being sarcastic. He followed up this scathingly and totally hilarious criticism of New York prepsters with Euro-cool “Barcelona” (1994) and the ambitious “The Last Days of Disco” (1998). Although this last film didn’t do as well as expected at the box office, one viewing is enough to convince you that great minds are usually ahead of their time. With one-liners flying faster than a speeding bullet and vitriolic dialogues perfectly capable of dissecting an entire era in under two minutes, Stillman cemented his reputation as a zeitgeist auteur with a clear inclination towards artificial universes and blatantly staged microcosms, reminiscent of the theater. It would take 12 long years for the director to grace us with his next movie: a series of misfortunes, delays and projects that fell through the cracks postponed “Damsels in Distress” until 2011, when he was finally able to provide us with the perfect excuse to pay tribute to his career. “Dawn in the big city. There are eight million stories out there,” says Nick, one of the main characters in “Metropolitan”. Well, Whit Stillman knows them all and he’ll hopefully share a lot more of them in the near future…

Phaedra Vokali



    Publication date: 2012-09-10 12:13:49

    Damsels in Distress

    Damsels in Distress

    A deadly female trio, who take it upon themselves to change the formerly male-dominated college campus into something, well, better – with questionable results.

    The Last Days of Disco

    The Last Days of Disco

    Old frenemies Charlotte and Alice are working as assistant editors in the same publishing house straight out of college. After a reluctant reunion, they decide to move in together in a Manhattan apartment they can't afford - not that this seems to stop them. Who cares if their parents have to pay the rent? The two girls have absolutely no qualms about spending their days (and nights) at the hottest disco in town, getting caught up in an endless romantic merry-go-round with any number of suitors – but how long can this last?

    Metropolitan

    Metropolitan

    Tom is a typical late 80s middle class Princeton graduate, who falls for the discreet charms of the UHB, the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie, as another one of its esteemed members calls it. Frequenting debutante balls with his upper-crust acronym-loving friends, Tom philosophizes with an air of phony intellectual brilliance afforded by his youth and the immense fortunes of everyone around him.

    Barcelona

    Barcelona

    Ted, working in sales for the Barcelona office of a US corporation, sees his life turned upside down when his cretin cousin Fred decides to move in. Ted and Fred (Stillman regulars Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigeman), whose surname is the only thing they have in common, couldn't be more different.