Whit Stillman’s first feature film, Metropolitan, follows outsider Tom Townsend (Edward Clements) as he makes his rounds of the Christmas-break Manhattan debutante gala circuit as an escort. Initially skeptical and disdainful of the whole “UHB” or “Urban Haute Bourgeoisie” scene, Tom slowly becomes an integral part of a circle of privileged, preppy friends after being taken under the wing of the opinionated, abrasive Nick Smith (Chris Eigeman). The group enjoys playing bridge and engaging in intellectual conversation (along with drinking, smoking, and the occasional game of strip poker). Although serving as an escort to well-read, sensitive, Jane Austen-loving Audrey (Carolyn Farina), Tom is clearly still hung up on his fickle ex-girlfriend Serena Slocum (Ellia Thompson). As a Fourier-style socialist and a young man of fairly limited means, Tom is never quite at home in his new environment throughout this film which lightly pokes fun at Manhattan’s young elite. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Metropolitan’
Born John Whitney Stillman in 1952 to a former debutante mother and D.C. politician father, not only did he direct his three films, but he also wrote the screenplays as well. Stillman did not attend film school, in fact, he graduated from Harvard in 1973 with a degree in American history, but we know that a filmmaker is not always made by a traditional education. Just look at Jonathan Caouette and his powerful documentary, Tarnation, made purely out of need for an outlet for his own personal story. Similarly, Stillman lent a somewhat autobiographical current to his works. After graduation, he worked as a journalist in NYC and gained experiences from the nightclub scene. Then he took an opportunity to work as a sales agent for film producers in Madrid and Barcelona. While in Spain, he acted for some of the directors he worked with, including Fernando Trueba, and he also met his wife.