Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan is one of 16 films on the list
From the archives of the New York Times comes an article about the Yule Log from Thomas Vinciguerra.
Like Christmas itself, the Yule log means different things to different people. ”It’s sort of a symbol of loneliness,” said the director Whit Stillman, who depicted a solitary Yule log viewer in a melancholy scene in his 1990 movie ”Metropolitan.” ”It probably wasn’t a great Christmas for you if you were watching it.” But, Mr. Stillman added, ”it’s a great thing to have when you touch bottom socially. No matter how low you go, if you had a TV, you had the Yule log.”
It is no surprise that Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan is on the BFI top ten list for Indie Christmas films.
Very nice article by Nate Jones at Vulture, but I would argue, that while Metropolitan is a Christmas vacation film, (it has a title card for that) it’s also very much a Christmas film as well. So it’s both a Christmas and “after Christmas” film. Metropolitan even has the distinction of being in Criterion’s 12 Days of Criterion Christmas. The 12 Days of Christmas being celebrated 12/25 to 1/5. Stillman has also stated in past interviews (including one with The Awl, by Sharan Shetty) that the film represents the 1969 deb season:
It was more trying to preserve something in amber. I was specifically portraying the 1969 deb season, as during that season there was very much the feeling that the debutante era was over. The whole Woodstock, post-Vietnam cultural shift was coming. Also, everyone lost their money. There were so many stories like that. I remember one family: the father was a player on Wall Street who lost all his wealth, but he’d already paid for his daughter’s deb party. So they actually went ahead with the party and then moved to Australia, broke. It really was like that. All those parties disappeared in the next several years. And yet they came back, and continue to this day.
There also seems to be a change in tone before and after Christmas. Before, the film is mostly intellectual conversation. After, it’s drug-taking, candor games, and fistfights. Was that a conscious decision?
Definitely. That’s supposed to represent 60s going into the 70s. The whole transition between the cultures of those respective decades.
— Whit Stillman (@WhitStillman) December 27, 2016