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.
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.