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by Axelle Ropert
Aurora Films: Charlotte Vincent
Axelle Ropert, a specialist in razor-sharp comedies tinted with contemporary melancholy, was in the middle of shooting this emotionally ample study of a girl facing her parents’ divorce when filming was suspended. The situation is particularly urgent as her young star is at an age of rapid physical change.
– Nicholas Elliott, Selection Committee
During this very unusual spring of 2020, the only films I watched were those that had no connection to what was going on in the world – no disaster movies, no war movies, no “dramas”. I only watched “pointless” films, with no historical or social topic, no “message”, and no specific urgency justifying their existence. Give me a “superfluous” film and nothing else, please.
Metropolitan (1990) fits into that category, and exponentially so, as it is a mundane comedy, the “superfluous” genre par excellence, which we’d be hard pressed to defend at a time when we would need a work of art. In the fancy New York neighborhoods of the late 1980s, a few handsome and affluent young people spend their days talking endlessly, throwing away money and living shamelessly inside a golden bubble of sorts. It’s an enchanting film that puts you at ease with its brightness, the breakneck pace of the dialogue, the beautiful girls and the exhaustingly witty boys. You will not be able to resist Chris Eigeman, who is Whit Stillman’s Jean-Pierre Léaud. It is also a captivating film that prolongs the mission of classic Hollywood. Why would I choose a “superfluous” film, in this time of hardship? This film is not the opium of the people, or a diversion of any kind. Instead, it allows us to make “the jump out of the heavy contingency of life”: it takes us away from the tyrannical injunctions of reality, celebrates the flow of things and pits art, proudly and stubbornly, against everything else. After the viewing, we’ll come back down to earth, lighter and stronger.
– Axelle Ropert