Going through my digital photo archive, I found a shot of me with director Whit Stillman (left) last May at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York City. Whit was there for a screening of his most recent film, “Damsels in Distress,” and a Q&A session with two of the actors in that film, Ryan Metcalf and Carrie MacLemore. This was one of the last films I saw in the city before moving to South Carolina.
After the Q&A, Whit stopped to chat with me for a while. He is one of my favorite directors, and has been known to indie filmgoers since the 90s as a chronicler of the “urban haute bourgeoisie.” Though his films lack a precise time or place, they do seem to capture the decline of mainline families, whose values and relationships seem hopelessly old fashioned, and an evolving and complicated set of social standards. His previous films Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco have been referred to as somewhat of a preppy trilogy. Metropolitan (1990) remains my favorite of his films.
The Last Days of Disco (1998) features an impressive Madras plaid sport coat worn by Chris Eigeman, who plays Des. Eigeman strenuously objected to being asked to wear the Madras jacket, but Whit won the debate.