Re-visiting Whit Stillman‘s “Metropolitan” this week after its Hulu debut, I was transported back to late 80’s New York City, about five years before I made the move to Manhattan. Writing about the film for indieWIRE, I realized that it was one of a number of late 80s/early 90s films that materially shaped my own views of the city. As with personal favorites “Do The Right Thing” (1989), “Paris Is Burning” (1991) [and even “When Harry Met Sally” (1989)], “Metropolitan” (1990) offers a window into a distinct New York City social network. And what disparate angles on 80s city life: deb balls on the Upper East Side and drag balls in Harlem, each a vital meeting place. Life on the rather idyllic Upper West Side contrasted with life on an a simmering Brooklyn block.
Clearly there have been countless movies about New Yorkers, but taken as a whole (since they emerged at almost the same moment), to me this handful of films offers a broad portrait of the city at a moment before it would change dramatically. i guess a lot of this is on my mind lately because I am currently reading Elizabeth Currid’s The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City.
Other NYC oriented films that are among my own favorite movies, each delivering vibrant snapshots of the city and/or New Yorkers : “Manhattan,” “West Side Story,” “Lonesome,” “The Naked City,” “Shortbus“, and “Sweet Smell of Success“. Other suggestions? Or thoughts?