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473 Ratings


Directed by Whit Stillman
United States, 1994
Comedy, Drama, Romance


Whit Stillman followed his indie breakthrough Metropolitan with another clever, if darker, comedy. A pair of preppy yet constitutionally mismatched American cousins—a salesman and a navy officer—argue about romance and politics while working in the beautiful Spanish city of the film’s title.

Barcelona Directed by Whit Stillman
Unlike the postmodern vision of traditional film genres shared by such contemporaries of his as the Coen brothers or Quentin Tarantino, Stillman turns to comedy not as a debased, tired, or parodic form in need of reinvention but as itself a means of sincere reconciliation and renewal. Following Stanley Cavell, Stillman embraces romantic comedy as a philosophically grounded genre driven toward a Shakespearean restoration of order and community.
April 19, 2016
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[Ted’s] seriousness may seem out of touch with the modern world—a fact that Stillman’s films are so good at satirizing—but it comes from a deeply felt thesis about one’s sense of obligation to learn what it means to be a good person, regardless of religion, social class, gender or culture.
April 19, 2016
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What makes Barcelona the least of the three films in Criterion’s new box set (a relative criticism; they’re all terrific) is its treatment of the female characters. One major problem is that Stillman, for some reason, chose not to cast Spanish actresses as the Spanish women… Even had these roles been cast more authentically, though, they’d still be fundamentally ornamental.
April 16, 2016
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