In only five films, from Metropolitan (1990) to Love & Friendship (2015), Whit Stillman has established himself as the prince of contemporary American comedy. Comedy is known as one of the most difficult genres in cinema. Stillman excels in it by betting on the elegance, intelligence and love of his characters, not on their derision. Stillman’s genius lies in his brilliant and unparalleled lively dialogues; and in his sober and well-crafted direction, entirely focused on the life of the characters and the speed of their thoughts, the subtlety of their emotions. It is also, in an age of budget inflation and bloated writing, a praise of economy, sobriety and the speed they allow. In front of a Stillman film, we can see Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart resurrecting the golden age of Hollywood to re-enchant our world, projecting a little of their elegance and impertinence. Assuming a heritage (the sophisticated Hollywood comedy of the 1930s and 40s) not to copy it, to reproduce it, but to find in it very personal powers of interpretation of a cinematographic genre. Holding together the old and the new.
Whit Stillman’s cinema is at the same time an aesthetic, an ethic and a politics that are uncommon, and which FIDMarseille shares. We are very pleased to present the first complete retrospective of his work in his presence.
As part of this retrospective, FIDMarseille is publishing the first French collective work devoted to his career, in co-publication with Les éditions de l’œil. The English edition was published by Fireflies Press.