From Christmas past comes an article from Criterion and Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan is listed among the great Criterion films that deal with Christmas. Grab some egg nog and put it in the DVD tray or Netflix instant watch. Or you could be sad sack and watch the Yule Log.
From Roger Ebert’s site comes this article by Brian Doan of The Twelve Scenes of Christmas. Metropolitan is right in there between Batman Returns and The Thin Man.
It’s set during a Christmas break, but it’s that sense of secrets held close, then released under pressure, that makes “Metropolitan” a true Christmas film. The movie tells the story of Tom, a young man who, home for the holidays from Princeton, attends a debutante ball and falls in with a group of the “UHB,” or “upper haute bourgeoisie”: a term bandied by one for their own social scene (and used ironically by the film to both satirize and create sympathy with them). Tom and his mother are not wealthy since her divorce, but this is the world he comes from, even if he wants to see himself apart from it. And it’s a world of secrets: about class, about love, about politics, about sex. Over a series of debutante ball after-parties, those secrets slowly come out.
Almost a year ago to this date, Leah Churner at the Sundance Channel blog did a history of the broadcasted Yule Log and Metropolitan figures right into that history.
1990: Early signs of log nostalgia: In director Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan,The Yule Log is positioned as a heartbreaking metaphor for loneliness and class anxiety. As the TV log glows in Tom Townsend’s meager apartment on the west side of Manhattan, real fireplaces roar unnoticed at the Plaza Hotel, and audiences outside of New York are introduced to the concept of the televised hearth.