|Criterion Collection: Metropolitan DVD|
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|Metropolitan DVD The Criterion Collection 1990|2006 Includes Insert Booklet|
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Madison, WI, USA
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Have you or someone you know attended a debutante ball? Have you ever tried to explain things that you grew up with as normal to someone who had only heard of them? Have you ever wondered why people in their early twenties like to talk so much more about deep philosophical subjects than the rest of us? And how they do so without the slightest hint of self-consciousness?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, or even if you wonder what they have to do with anything, chances are you will enjoy Whit Stillman's 1990 film, METROPOLITAN. Filmed on the proverbial low budget, using actors who had never done much else (in some cases before AND since) this movie is about a handful of college students who seem always to have just been to a party and now they are sitting up until all hours discussing things like Utopian Communities and Lionel Trilling. Oh, yes, and the decline of the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie.
Call them Yuppies or Preppies if you must, but be sure to recognize these are not necessarily rich kids and their difficulties and insecurities are nearly universal,( with the possible exception of having your almost-girlfriend run off to the Hamptons with Euro-trash, which still hasn't happened to me, 15 years after I first saw this great film.)
Debutante parties, in one form or another, persist through the American South and much of the East coast. Under other names, coming-of-age celebrations are everywhere and part of the nature of them is that those who have just come of age may still be a little uneasy about it. Though director Stillman's characters have features that appear unique to New York at the close of the 20th century, his theme of that newfound adulthood and how best to manage it appeals to a much broader group.
Like a brilliant first novel, METROPOLITAN outshines its succesors, BARCELONA and THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO. Arguably, Stillman falls prey to bigger and bigger budgets and the need to outdo himself. This film has only recently become available on DVD, which is why it may carry a later issue date.
If you enjoy the comedies of manners of Noel Coward, or even the snappy dialog of a David Mamet play, you will probably enjoy Metropolitan. If you are a Fourrierist or an anarchist, you should watch it just to see how funny college students can inadvertantly be while taking your politics seriously.
whit stillman's charming and witty directorial debut uses its debutante ball setting as the perfect excuse to capture the beauty of manhattan at christmastime, bedecked in both decorations and a coating of snow. as stillman pointed out, his low-budget indie movie got millions of dollars worth of free art direction from the city of new york. this is a great holiday movie to watch.