Stillman is Back - with Austen
Stillman Box Set Out on Criterion LabelWe are big fans of the films of Whit Stillman at Tweed Towers. We have covered Barcelona and Metropolitan on these pages, and will get round to the The Last Days of Disco at some stage.
So three cheers for our good friends at Criterion who released a box set of the trilogy last month on Blu-ray and DVD. Whit was involved in the digital transfers of this new box set, and new commentaries were recorded with cast members. The box set is a must for your classic film collection.
As dear friend Bertie expressed in one of his letters from Melbourne, why isn't there a contemporary British social chronicler of the same calibre in film-making, and with the same wit and civility? We invented Jane Austen, for heaven's sake.
Whit's New Film Based on Jane Austen StorySpeaking of which, it's nice to report that the hardly-prolific Whit is back with a new film based on an unfinished Jane Austen story called Lady Susan.
Love and Friendship (to give the story a more Austen-like name) is released this month. Whit has extracted the drollest lines from Austen's work and fleshed out the story for the big screen and in an adapted novel of the same title. We can expect sublime dialogue and next to no computer-generated imagery. In other words, it's our kind of film, gents.
According to an interview with The New York Times, which I have open at my desk, Whit has been working on the script for the film for ten years. In the interview, they mention a similarity between Austen's work and Whit's films in that 'characters are obsessed with manners and social norms and class and courtship'.
Whit goes on to state his attraction to the 18th century of Austen:
'I think it’s a superior time, for music, architecture, manners, thought. Not the movies. The movies from that time aren’t so good.'
Read the New York Times interview online here.
The film stars Kate Beckinsale (above) as Lady Susan, the 'fiend', 'flirt' and 'most accomplished coquette in England' who has an 'uncanny understanding of men's natures'. I am reading good things about the casting and the film generally. Expectations are very high at Tweed Towers.
Judge for yourselves whether or not it's your cup of tea from the trailer (by Amazon Studios) below.