Whit Stillman Returns!
Comedy of manners virtuoso Whit Stillman has a new feature film coming to theaters: Damsels in Distress.
If the trailer below is any indication, his first film since 1998’s The Last Days of Disco will follow his earlier works’ signature deadpan dialogue, well-educated but short-on-wisdom characters, and insightful wit, but Damsels in Distress appears to have a look and feel all its own.
For those unfamiliar with Stillman’s work, he’s made three priceless gems about “doomed bourgeoisie in love.” Disco was his latest. Before that was Barcelona, and his first feature was the charming Metropolitan. His characters talk a lot about things they’ve learned from books while displaying their ignorance about the lessons learned from life. You’ll watch them debate the merits of reading good literary criticism instead of novels, complain that no one talks about whatever you call the thing above the subtext, and argue that Brutus was a good friend to Caesar by stabbing him in the back. Stillman’s dialogue, though, isn’t allusive to culture for its own sake; his characters are always talking about themselves, usually unawares, even when discussing the depressing archetypes of Lady and the Tramp.
I rarely get to the theater these years, but I’ll make a special trip if Damsels in Distress opens in the area.