Writer-director Whit Stillman, whose urbane comedies made him one of the most accomplished American independent directors of the 1990s, is returning to feature filmmaking with DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, a widely anticipated comedy starring Greta Gerwig that centers on a group of collegiate girls. Stillman will appear on two consecutive evenings at Museum of the Moving Image: on Wednesday, April 4, with actor Chris Eigeman for a discussion following a rare screening of his 1994 film Barcelona, and on Thursday, April 5, to introduce a special preview screening of DAMSELS IN DISTRESS.
Tickets for each program are $15 public / $9 Museum members / Free for Silver Screen members and above. Order advance tickets online at www.movingimage.us or by calling 718-777-6800.
Whit Stillman’s first three films, Metropolitan, Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco, form a sophisticated and comedic trilogy on 1990s young city-dwelling bourgeois culture. His intelligent, idiosyncratic characters and almost anachronistic classicism have inspired comparisons to Woody Allen and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
On Wednesday, April 4, at 7:00 p.m., the Museum will present a screening of Barcelona followed by a conversation with Stillman and actor Chris Eigeman who is best known for his roles in the first three Stillman films. The discussion, moderated by Chief Curator David Schwartz, is part of the citywide series Stuck on the Second Tier, curated by Miriam Bale, focusing on the films of neglected and underrated auteurs. In Barcelona, Stillman’s ambitious and hard to-classify second film, a priggish American living in Barcelona hosts his visiting cousin, an uptight naval officer. Clashes ensue, between the cousins and between their conservative sensibilities and the Euro-liberalism all around them—as the film veers unexpectedly between comedy and drama, between optimism and a dark desperation in “the last decade of the cold war.” (1994, 101 mins. With Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman, Tushka Bergen.)
On the following evening, Thursday, April 5, at 7:00 p.m. Stillman will return to introduce a preview screening of DAMSELS IN DISTRESS. In the film, a trio of girls set out to change the male-dominated environment of the Seven Oaks college campus—which only recently began accepting female students—and to rescue their fellow students from depression, bad fashion, and low standards. Greta Gerwig plays Violet, the awkward yet assertive leader of the group, in this Jane Austen-meets-Heathers-meets-a dollop of French New Wave musical tale of preppy mores. The film was shot in New York City with the beautiful nineteenth-century Greek Revival buildings at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island serving as the college campus. (2011, 99 mins. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. With Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton.)