The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, August 5-11

Metropolitan-Whit-Stillman-Christmas

Metropolitan (1990)
Directed by Whit Stillman
“You don’t have to read a book to have an opinion on it.” No filmmaker has ever captured precocity as precisely as Stillman, whose characters’ hyperarticulate naïveté (and quaint preoccupation with sexual virtue) could hardly inspire a response other than the filmmaker’s own pleasure in dialogue playful for its own sake, and lovingly indulgent endings. Stillman’s subsequent Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco and Damsels in Distress would treat political radicalism, money laundering and suicide with the whimsical lightness of operetta; his debut, in the same mode but constraining itself entirely to manners, attractions, and subtle tinctures of class difference among a college-age but old-school group of Manhattan socialites, is at once his most inconsequential work, and his most fully serious. It’s also perhaps the great cinematic depiction of the wintry, nostalgic climate and heady leisure time of New York City over the Christmas holiday. Mark Asch (25th anniversary restoration opens August 7 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center)

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