Whit Stillman’s Sympathetic Aristocrats

By |2018-03-21T06:29:10-05:00March 16th, 2018|

The American indie director Whit Stillman has made only five movies, but if you’re an aspiring cineaste, you need to see them all. Focusing exclusively on young members of the upper crust, Mr. Stillman humanizes a class of people typically derided for belonging to the privileged one percent. Mr. Stillman endears audiences to his [...]

Jane Austen & Whit Stillman on Art, Imagination, and Knowledge

By |2018-02-13T23:08:10-05:00February 13th, 2018|

Art, understood as a medium that engages the imagination and desires of its audience, can lure out aspects of its audience that would otherwise be kept hidden. Awareness of what desires the art excites and how one’s imagination is played upon can afford a perceptive viewer an opportunity to gain knowledge both of himself [...]

Whit Stillman’s “Barcelona” & 1980s America

By |2019-03-10T09:47:47-05:00January 21st, 2017|Tags: , |

Director Whit Stillman understands that America is dominated by a culture that was imported from Europe and is expressed in European tongues and nourished and maintained by contact with Europe… “Amerika, du hast es besser!” Goethe exclaimed. For him America was a land free from the ancient traditions that are Europe’s heritage and curse. [...]

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in “Love & Friendship”

By |2017-07-31T01:08:45-05:00June 16th, 2016|

Whit Stillman, in the novel version of his film, Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, has Lady Susan’s daughter Frederica visit a church at a key moment in the plot. This happens in the film too, but the novel supplies us with some extra information that the [...]

Clever Comedy: Whit Stillman’s Cosmopolitans

By |2016-11-04T19:18:32-05:00September 4th, 2014|

We highly recommend this marvelous pilot episode for The Cosmopolitans, a new series by our friend Whit Stillman. Please watch this witty comedy and take the survey at Amazonoriginals.com so that they will support a complete series. Smart, clever, fun and beautiful cinematography. Well done Mr. Stillman! Read Richard Brody’s review in The New Yorker and [...]

Whit Stillman: Poet of the Broken Branches

By |2016-07-26T15:52:47-05:00January 26th, 2014|Tags: |

It is a mistake, I think, to look at Whit Stillman as an apologist for what one of his characters in Metropolitan wanted to call the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie, or UHB. Apart from anything else, it is far from clear whether any such thing actually exists in nature in the form proposed by the [...]

An Evening with Whit Stillman

By |2016-11-04T19:18:52-05:00September 25th, 2013|

The Academy Award nominated filmmaker will offer thematic and cultural commentary in Houston on October 1st. (To register for this event, please click here.) “Whatever Whit Stillman’s politics may be, the very form of his artistic sensibility illuminates what an imaginative conservative cultural intervention in our time might entail… In each of [his] films a [...]

Putting the Arts into Practice: Renewing Western Culture

By |2016-07-26T15:17:20-05:00July 23rd, 2013|

At the crescendo of his stirring cri de coeur, “Word and Anti-Word: A Christian Humanist Meditation,” Bradley Birzer asks how we might best undertake the renewal, inspired and grounded in the best intellectual traditions of the Christian West, that is so badly needed in our ever-darkening times. For an answer Dr. Birzer turns to [...]

Damsels in Distress: A Cultural Anti-Depressant

By |2016-05-01T12:48:05-05:00May 22nd, 2013|

If you’re feeling depressed about the culture around you, Dr. Elliott has a prescription for you: one full dose of Whit Stillman’s most recent film, Damsels in Distress, followed by tap dancing. I am perfectly serious. This charming story unfolds with a group of quirky college girls on the campus of Seven Oaks, a fictitious [...]

Nature, Grace, and The Last Days of Disco

By |2018-07-29T23:32:38-05:00March 5th, 2013|

Whit Stillman’s films, which he both writes and directs, are rather Socratic, Christian, and at least ambiguously conservative. For an audience that for the most part possesses none of those qualities, he presents his insight lightly and indirectly. Only occasionally does he allow us to glimpse the extent of his ambition. He told a [...]