The Last Days of Disco ★★★★½

First true Stillman, the theatrical run for Damsels in Distress, which I quite liked, being my only prior encounter. Wonder if this is the rapture everyone felt with Metropolitan, and whether it’s transferable to whatever UHB film you see first. Regardless, what struck me more than the shrewd, albeit inconsistent dialogue (Eigeman’s story about the brazen bosom, in particular, made me cringe, though there are other examples, including favorite Shakespeare quotes in the cab) is the movie’s shapelessness. That Stillman proceeded to make a novelization of the film is unsurprising since it moves in a way that’s contrary to everything I expect from genre cinema. For one, there’s no exposition, the basis for prior relationships only gleaned from offhand dialogue; pivotal moments seem to have little bearing, often just inferred. Alice says she’s moving out of the apartment, a confrontation that’s been stewing, then the next scene plays like nothing happened, this fissure only resurfacing as a joke in the hospital. Likewise, characters come and go without any fanfare - a third roommate is introduced as Matt Ross’s love interest, then both characters carry on with scarcely a mention of their arrangement. There’s some conclusion in the “ferocious pairing-off” of couples, but there’s no building to it, characters simply mentioning their dates on the sidewalk before the credits roll. In fact, those very credits are the movie in a nutshell, little stories magnetized by a milieu, with everyone dancing to their own thing in the margins. Not sure this has anything to do with real disco and it probably helps that Sevigny’s Alice is my feminine ideal. But god, this movie - which is pure joy underlined by the tiniest bit of melancholy - really makes me wish I got disco instead of EDM. Nobody ever gets shoved through the crowd.