Double feature: There isn’t much to argue about/with the assertion that New York is a city of cultural, as well as financial, wealth. The enviably literate, well-spoken characters in “The Last Days of Disco” and “Hannah and Her Sisters” are socially and temperamentally positioned to take advantage of both. In traveling the seams where money, art, breeding, and beauty meet in various combinations, they let us vicariously do so as well.
Speaking of various combinations: both films put their characters through a square-dance of rotating romantic allegiances. Both address the ease with which the mild at heart can be taken for granted, or underestimated by, the ranks of the ambitious who inevitably outnumber them in the urban jungle.
The characters in both films are surprisingly forthright about their emotional fragility. Their sophistication and savviness, thick skin and endurance of disappointment, allow this seemingly rampant delicacy to be treated as just another subject for their eloquent commentary.
In the same measured tone with which they rhapsodize about the facade of a favorite building, or delve into the subtext of a children’s film, they lay bare the workings of their hearts and minds to each other – then button up their overcoats, hop into a cab, and head off to their next sociocultural encounter, just a few blocks away. Leaving you jealous, breathless, and hopeful.
For a marathon: A viewing of “When Harry Met Sally…” would be appropriate after either of the above films, but especially so after “Hannah and Her Sisters.” Both trace the journey of two neurotics from annoyance to friendship to love, with the city’s retail, culinary, and cultural institutions backdropping this evolution.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “Barney909” and “rnav1234” at Flickr)