The paleocon filmmaker


Whit Stillman is one of my favorite filmmakers. He’s four films Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco and Damsel’s in Distress are real masterpieces of the 7th art. But unlike most movie directors of Hollywood or Sundance he is conservative. Don’t worry he’s not a neocon filmaker like those of The American Film Renaissance, he’s a paleocon. The son of John Sterling Stillman, a democratic politician who worked in Washington in JFK years was also in his youth a junior editor at the famous paleocon magazine The American Spectator. Steve Sailer had called him “the WASP Woody Allen”, he had made a career with particular style in depections of the urban upper-middle class. Stillman had get respect of not only paleoncons but more mainstream right-wingers as well. Even that according to a recent interview he don’t like conservative icon Reagan at all. Probably he wasn’t buchanite in the 90s probably he understands conservativism as a way of life more in the line of the good writers of The American Conservative.

What makes him a paleocon, well in Barcelona a movie depecting two counsins, a salesman and a naval officer,  living in the spanish city in 80s. Stillman was critic of conspiracy theories like that some in the post-Franco Spain believe. For example some of spanish characters were sure that one the sailor was an agent of AFL-CIA, the other cousin with thoughtful insight in the american labor movement explains that it was the AFL-CIO and that CIO was the most militant wing of the labor movement. He wasn’t defending the unions neither american imperalism just explaining how the things are. The sailor in other scene destroy an ant colony who upsets the spanishs in that house thar criticizing these action as example of american imperialialism. The salesman was more cautious and was more rational understading the fear of spanish of the american foreign interventions. The other 3 films are less political although had a kind of social conservativism strange for the independent cinema. In Metropolition one of the characters was a Fourier socialist, more than a militant radical he was quite a traditionalist. I still waiting for next film of the humble but brilliant Whit Stillman.


About Camilo Gómez

My main interests are history, politics, film and music. Twitter: @camilomgn
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