Friday, 22 December 2017

Metropolitan (1990)

Tom and Audrey discussing Jane Austen and Lionel Trilling.

This film has always been special for me, somehow even before I had seen it. I saw the trailer during the Christmas break of 1990 at the cinema Sergelteatern in Stockholm. I was there with my mother and after the trailer I turn to her and said "I want to see that one. It looks really good." I do not remember which film it was we were there to watch, and it is the only memory I have of seeing a trailer for the first time. For unknown reasons the trailer for Metropolitan (Whit Stillman 1990) made an unforgettable impression.

When the film did come out in Sweden in early 1991 I saw it but I have no memory of that, or of where I saw it and with whom. The trailer had had a more powerful impact. Maybe it was just timing.

Now, after having watched the film so many times over the years, it has become a part of me, frequently on my mind. The acting is a bit stiff, or awkward, at times but the dialogue is wonderful and so is the film's general sense of melancholia. There is a quiet sadness to the film, and to several of its characters, sprung from a desperate belief that there must have been better times then these, because what kind of life is this? If this is all we have got then finding pleasure in thinking about an imagined past might be what keeps depression at bay.

But maybe all is not lost. The last scene, of three friends lost by the beach at Southampton, is both wistful and hopeful. One era is definitely over but maybe their friendship will survive. At least it is pretty to think so.


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