Whit Stillman was one of the biggest names in American independent film when he made 1998’s The Last Of Disco, which ended up being his last movie for 14 years. At the time, The Last Days Of Disco seemed a little like a case of diminishing returns, coming after Stillman’s urbane 1990 debut Metropolis and his more sophisticated 1994 follow-up Barcelona. But Stillman’s long layoff has helped boost the reputation of Disco—not unlike what happened after disco music itself had been off the radio for a while. Following a group of early 1980s New Yorkers (played by Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Sean Leonard, Chris Eigeman, Mackenzie Astin, and Matt Keeslar, among others), The Last Days Of Disco casts a sympathetic eye at would-be yuppies as they strive to cobble together a social life and an identity while embarking on careers in advertising, publishing, law, and nightclub management. Stillman doesn’t excuse his characters’ vanity or smugness, but he does try to understand them, and he stands up for their right to share in the egalitarian, community-building aspects of popular culture. It’s all oddly touching, and liberally sprinkled with funny, memorable dialogue. The Last Days Of Disco airs on Starz’s Indieplex at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.
October 15, 2014 newsreel