Stockholm, Austin and London Film Festivals

I’ve been too busy to keep up, so here’s a round-up of various Whit Stillman bits and pieces from the past week or so. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, the most interesting tidbit is that Stillman’s hoping for a March release of Damsels in Distress.

Stillman was at the Austin Film Festival where Metropolitan was being screened, and Austin360 picked up on a possibly throwaway comment to suggest Stillman is considering moving to Austin:

Before a panel session on developing characters on Thursday, Stillman said that he has been spending most of his time traveling in recent months, and that New York is “an expensive place to just hang my hat.”

If he leaves New York, he said, he’s considering Miami and Austin. He has friends and acquaintances in Miami, but he said Austin’s create scene “seems to be bubbling up.”

KVUE.com has a report from what sounds like a question and answer session with Stillman at the same festival. There are a few bits about Metropolitan and Damsels in Distress and it sounds like Stillman is still tweaking the latter and hoping for a (presumably US) release in March.

Damsels also featured as the “Surprise Film” at the recent London Film Festival. A friend who went to the screening said the audience seemed somewhat split and he wasn’t quite convinced by the movie himself, Greta Gerwig’s performance aside. On the other hand, Sam

Inglis at Front Row Reviews was very enthusiastic:

I get why people would hate a movie that actually goes to the trouble of having footnotes before its credits, but every time I think back on Damsels in Distress I like it more, as I remember another joke I laughed at, or another bizarre moment that made me smile.

Tim Chipping at Holy Moly is also pleased:

It feels effortless and joyous, particularly the final dance scene (expanding on a similar break from reality in the closing sequence of Last Days of Disco). And since our first thought was that we wanted to watch the film again, immediately, then it’s more than earned its place in the tiny Stillman canon.

However, Mark Fletcher, writing for the local newspaper Hertfordshire Mercury isn’t a Stillman fan and Damsels didn’t win him over:

It’s as twee as it sounds; in fact the only thing missing is a Belle and Sebastian soundtrack. Damsels in Distress’ s heightened dialogue has its moments of humour, but ruins its best jokes by bludgeoning you over the head with them. … if Stillman’s hoping for long-term cult appeal he’s going to have to do better than this.

Returning to the enthusiasm, Matthew Turner at ViewLondon barely had a bad thing to say:

The script is packed with deliciously quotable lines and Stillman orchestrates some brilliantly funny scenes that pay off in unexpected ways … It is fair to say that Damsels in Distress won’t work for everyone (and indeed, the London Film Festival Surprise Film screening was extremely divisive), but if you’re a fan of either Greta Gerwig, Stillman’s previous films or tap-dancing, you will love it. Highly recommended.

As if to illustrate his point, Turner loves one running gag that Mark Fletcher picked up on as particularly grating. But all in all, it’s sounding good.

Finally, looking ahead, the Stockholm Film Festival is on from 9-20 November and Stillman is chairing the event’s jury. Damsels in Distress is also showing at the festival, out of competition.

5 thoughts on “Stockholm, Austin and London Film Festivals

  1. why do i have a feeling that this movie will be the final nail in stillman’s career? disco almost did it.

    if you are a stillman fan because of metropolitan and Barcelona, are you optimistic about his new film?

  2. Yes. Judging from the clips, it seems like a typical Whit Stillman film. Even when I take into account the reports of dance numbers, it still sounds like something that’ll be completely in my wheel-house.

    As far as his career is concerned, I don’t think it can really hurt him. Damsels has been made so cheaply that it’s bound to turn a healthy profit simply on the Stillman rep alone. I know that’s one of the talking points during the promotional tour but it rings true.

    The question is if Damsels will make enough profit for him to make a film with a budget on the scale of Barcelona. I’m not worried about him being able to go the John Sayles make-a-indie-flick-for-$5 route.

  3. I’ve only seen one user review on imdb.com. If anyone has seen the film I’m sure someone had a positive reaction. If they did it would probably help to post a positive review on imdb.com

  4. The clips on IMDB make it look as good as Metropolitan and Barcelona.Last Days of Disco was ok but not as good to me. Eagerly awaiting its release.

  5. So, does anyone know when the film is going to screen in NYC in late December 2011 or January 2012? Excited about this film.

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