First three ‘Damsels in Distress’ clips

It looks like the first three clips from Whit Stillman’s forthcoming Damsels in Distress have been released, ahead of its screening to close the Venice Film Festival.

It’s hard to tell if these are officially-sanctioned clips or a leak, as the official Damsels website shows no sign of them. But they’ve already spread to many sites with no apparent attempt by Sony to suppress them.

So, if you can’t wait for the film’s release to see your first Whit Stillman scenes since last century, here you are… (If the embedded versions below don’t work, all three are also available at IMDb.)

Violet and Lily Comfort Priss

This seems like classic Whit Stillman and I’m already loving Greta Gerwig’s character, Violet. She appears to show that same overly verbose and rather insensitive (or maybe just unaware) nature that is familiar from previous Stillman films. And, as many of you will have noticed, this conversation is very like that in Barcelona, in which Ted and Fred discuss the merits of “plain, or even rather homely, girls”. Maybe this mirroring reflects the overall shift from male to female leads this time around.

Lily Introduces Charlie to Violet, Heather and Rose

More fun “Stillman-esque” dialogue here, right up to Violet’s wonderful final line. I’m not sure this scene would win over anyone who didn’t “get” Stillman’s style before, as I can imagine this exchange seeming stilted and somewhat fake, but it seems like good stuff to me!

The Alegbra of Love

This clip isn’t available on YouTube yet, hence the smaller version from elsewhere. As a standalone clip, this seems like the least successful, but there’s no reason it won’t work well as part of the whole. I have been wondering how Stillman’s style would hold up in 2011, given the increasing numbers of “indie” romantic comedies over the past decade, with their almost parody-able quirky, elliptical dialogue. This clip could, on its own, seem like a continuation of that style, rather than of Stillman’s own, but we’ll have to wait and see how it works in situ.

All three clips feature a non-diegetic soundtrack of strings and (I think) woodwind. I can’t recall now if this is familiar from previous Stillman films, or if, as I suspect, it’s new. I wonder what it indicates about the tone of the movie, if it’s a common feature.

So, if you’ve watched the clips, what do you think? What interesting points or ideas have I missed? Do they live up to your expectations? Feel free to post a comment below…

8 thoughts on “First three ‘Damsels in Distress’ clips

  1. The music was the first thing I noticed. I find it distracting, but it’s probably just seeing the clips isolated from the movie as a whole. Getting excited about finally seeing it!

  2. According to the entry on IMDB, Mark Suozzo was the composer for this film (he also did Stillman’s earlier films–and actually they had a fair amount of non-diegetic music in them). It looks like Stillman hasn’t lost his touch–I love the way he writes dialogue! Is there really a book called The Algebra of Love?

  3. Greta Gerwig is fantastic!! The thing she does with her eyes in the first clip, not knowing what it’s like to be gazed at by a handsome man, is priceless. I know I’m going to love this movie. Thank you Mr. Stillman for giving us something beautiful, entertaining and thoughtful – I’m positive of this.

    The rest of the cast look great. gc

  4. I missed the patter of dialogue which is distinctly Whitman. I like the choice of Gerwig. She seems perfect for this sort of film. Looking forward to the release.

  5. I hope this movie is not another last days of disco, else he’ll be taking another 13 year break from doing movies.

  6. I am so pleased with these clips, my faith is renewed. Greta Gerwig is the perfect Stillman heroine. Like Chloë Sevigny channeling Chris Eigeman.

  7. Greta Gerwig is the perfect Stillman heroine. Like Chloë Sevigny channeling Chris Eigeman.

    Ha, yes, a good description! Good to see people seem to like the clips so far.

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