Whit Stillman is an American filmmaker whose four films are comedic investigations of class triumphs and tragedies, explored through the lens of group social life.
These include the varying comforts and malaise of the ‘urban haute bourgeoisie’ in Metropolitan (1990); how certain class cultures clash with political realities abroad in Barcelona (1994); and the collapse of the utopian ideals of disco in The Last Days of Disco (1996).
In many ways his latest film and first in thirteen years, Damsels in Distress (2001), breaks away from the preceding three films. It takes a cue from Disco‘s last scene and sheds the commitment to realism that dominates popular cinema today, while also exhibiting an intimacy with its central character in a way that’s unique in Whit’s films.
We were thrilled to bring Whit to Toronto to discuss and present his work through our Live Directors Series. Before leaving the city, Whit sat down to chat about his films a little more closely, with a special (and deserved) focus on the charms and challenges of Damsels.
This interview was first published in January of 2013.