Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman, Tushka Bergen, Mira Sorvino, Pep Munné
Director: Whit Stillman
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Military & War
Comedy of manners involving two young American men and their adventures in Barcelona. Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: PG13 Release Date: 2-APR-2002 Media Type: DVD
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Intelligent and Witty Comedy
David Montgomery | davidjmontgomery.com | 05/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whit Stillman has an ear for sophisticated dialog that is virtually unmatched among today's screenwriters. His characters speak in a way that is sharper, smarter, and "realer" than reality. There is also an intelligence in his work that is all too rare in today's pictures. You come away from his films not only entertained, but enlightened and, probably, having learned something as well."Barcelona" is about two American cousins living in Spain. Ted (Taylor Nichols) is a shy, reserved sales rep, and Fred (Chris Eigeman) a brash and handsome naval officer. The story is primarily a romantic one. Ted is in love with Montserrat (Tushka Bergen) and Fred, perhaps, with Marta (Mira Sorvino), both beautiful, free-spirited young Spanish women. Marta, though, turns out to be a little too free for Fred's taste, so he also falls for Montserrat. This, of course, provides complications of its own.The film is set in "the last decade of the Cold War," a time of rampant anti-Americanism in Barcelona, which adds an intriguing political subtext to the romantic machinations that form the bulk of the story. This subtext manifests itself both in violence and humor that provide needed counterpoint to the love story.What I like best about Stillman's work is the high regard in which he holds his audience. In a culture where the prevailing cinema is targeted at the lowest common denominator, the wit and intelligence of a film like "Barcelona" are a very welcome relief. When Stillman refers to Dale Carnegie, or the sinking of the "Maine," or draws insight from "Death of a Salesman," he assumes we know what he's talking about. He never belabors the point or tries to explain it. He simply allows us to nod and smile, without being hit over the head with any gratuitous exposition."Barcelona" builds on the promise that Stillman first showed in "Metropolitan." This work is a more fully realized and executed film, relying not just on his gift for dialogue, but delivering greater levels of characterization and development as well. Stillman is one of our finest young filmmakers; more of a verbal auteur than a visual one, but a great talent all the same."
Whit, Please Come Back!
Bernard Chapin | CHICAGO! USA | 07/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First things first, Whit Stillman should be making movies until he dies. Let's get that guy back behind the camera for the good of everybody. Barcelona, as a film, is deceptively serious as, amid its banal conversations about the proper way to shave and management theory, grave subjects are illuminated.
The reflexive anti-Americanism of Spain and Europe are integral to many of the interactions experienced by Taylor and Eigeman, the two main characters. It's at the end of The Cold War and Spain is conflicted over NATO. A humorous side light concerning this situation is made by Eigeman, "I think it's well-known that anti-Americanism has its roots in sexual impotence, at least in Europe." Eigeman's presence in the uniform of a US Naval officer in the Barcelona streets has somewhat predictable results. Yet, no one is able to refute his point that even if the Spaniards don't like NATO, they would never prefer the Soviets rolling through Western Europe instead. The conspiracy theories that some of the Spanish poseurs spout are quite bankrupt on their surface (such as the existence of a right-wing labor union called the AFL-CIA).
On an aesthetic level, this is a beautiful film. Shots of the grand buildings that comprised old Catalonia are breathtaking. The outfits and faces of the trade show girls are just as riveting. I think Stillman succeeds in capturing some of the city's nobility within these frames.
The Spanish women are a mystery to both Eigeman and Taylor, but, with Taylor, the audience is constantly present as he overanlyzes emotions which few words could possibly describe. You have the feeling though that a character like Taylor's would be a foreigner in any land he visited. Thanks for this one, Mr. Stillman, now go make six more."
Underrated and Quiet Genius
Justin Kownacki | Pittsburgh, PA, USA | 02/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whit Stillman has his eye on the world and his finger on the pulse of a certain breed of upperclass white society, and white upperclass men in particular. He understands their insecurities and ineffectualities while pulling apart the fabric of their lives to expose their structure as inherently faulty. In Barcelona, the result is always whimsical and occasionally hysterical, juxtaposing American and European thoughts and values while never losing sight of the great underlying tragedy: that everyone is lonely, regardless of where they come from or what language they speak.Stillman is incredibly literary as filmmakers go, injecting more sociopolitical dialogue into his scripts than most would dare. But the skilled actors, especially Stillman regulars Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigeman as cousins Ted and Fred Boynton, add a level of humanity to their otherwise textbook arguments that make them relevant and dryly hilarious. Stillman also has a penchant for the borderline absurd, masterfully combining comedy and tragedy. Who else could elicit humor while negating pity from a botched assassination attempt than Stillman and Eigeman, much less find a romantic angle to work?For my money, it's the little moments that make any story worth remembering, and Barcelona is peppered with them. Eigeman's failed attempts to introduce the Barcelona soiree crowd to the allure of the limbo... Nichols's uptight sales executive trying to loosen up by reading the Bible while dancing to "Pennsylvania 6-5000," unaware that he has an audience... an anecdote about a dead soldier's body being shipped home to the states, as told from the coffin's point of view while being transported on a forklift... even wordplays, as when Nichols accidentally accepts an invitation to an evening of jazz with "Vinyl Hampton." Small moments, but their resonance is huge. I've seen this movie twice, over five years ago, and I can still remember whole scenes to this day.Stillman's power as a director is understated, but the lasting effect of his little gems -- Barcelona and Metropolitan chief among them -- are worth seeking out."
Matt | Miami, FL United States | 06/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rented Barcelona from Netflix after I was amazed by the hilarity and originality of Metropolitan. I figured if Whit Stillman did half as good a job on Barcelona it would be worth it. My expectations were exceeded. Right after I finished watching it, I sat down at my computer and ordered it from Amazon. Whit Stillman is so smart and his script is so hilarious. Chris Eigeman is an absolute genius. Taylor Nichols is superb as well. I am astonished by Stillman's talent, yet nobody I talk to knows about him. I can't understand how he can fly under the radar. His humor is so literate. The performances he gets from his actors are so deadpan, each joke is like a punch to the face. I laugh in amazement. This is a fantasticly creative film. It's not mainstream, but if you do end up liking it, you will be so happy to have found it."