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The Last Days of Disco

Whit Stillman

We're thrilled to screen this film in partnership with V&A Dundee, celebrating the new exhibition Night Fever: Designing Club Culture. Visit the website to find out more and pre-book your visit.

Writer-director Whit Stillman is one of the true mavericks of American cinema. He makes unashamedly literate movies that take a satirical, but never condescending look at the 'Urban Haut-Bourgeoisie' – young WASPS born into privilege who are highly educated, attend cotillions and after-parties, and are as likely to have conversations about Oscar Wilde or Jane Austen as they are about sex.   

“…a love letter to a lost era that is oddly moving and warmly nostalgic”

The Last Days of Disco is set in New York in the early 80s and follows two young women (Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale), and various young men, who congregate at their favourite nightclub where they dance, hook up, and fall in and out of love, and discuss their struggle to edit books about Buddhism. That’s about it in terms of plot, but Stillman is more interested character, atmosphere, and building memorable scenes. His dialogue absolutely crackles, and he coaxes wonderfully deadpan performances out of a game ensemble, most notably a wonderfully bitchy Beckinsale, and Chris Eigeman (a Stillman stalwart).   

Stillman based the film on his own experiences of attending clubs like Studio 54 every weekend in the late 1970s, and his vision of disco culture could not be further removed from films like Saturday Night Fever or Boogie Nights. If it’s the sardonic wit of the script, the New York locations, the astonishing club set built in an abandoned cinema in New Jersey, and the music (Chic, Don Ray, Sister Sledge, and not a Bee Gee to be heard) that initially grab your attention, by the end you realise that Stillman has quietly produced a love letter to a lost era that is oddly moving and warmly nostalgic, but never mawkish.   

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We hope you enjoy your visit!