In Life During Wartime, independent filmmaker Todd Solondz explores contemporary American existence and the nature of forgiveness with his customary dry humor and queasy precision. The film functions as a distorted mirror image of Solondz’s acclaimed 1998 dark comedy Happiness, its emotionally stunted characters now groping for the possibility of change in a post-9/11 world. Happiness’s grim New Jersey setting is transposed to sunny Florida, but the biggest twist is that new actors fill the roles originated in the earlier film—including Shirley Henderson, Allison Janney, and Ally Sheedy as alarmingly dissimilar sisters, and Ciarán Hinds hauntingly embodying a reformed pedophile. Shot in expressionistic tones by cinematographer extraordinaire Ed Lachman, Solondz’s film finds the humor in the tragic and the tragic in the everyday. –The Criterion Collection
Solondz’s first color film with sync sound was the short “Schatt’s Last Shot” (1985). Solondz played a high schooler who wants to get into Stanford, but cannot because his sadistic gym teacher fails him. He also has no luck seducing the girl he desires. It was a student film, and is still screened at NYU, where Solondz made it.
Solondz’s first feature was Fear, Anxiety & Depression (1989), a piece about a writer (Solondz) writing a play and sending it to Samuel Beckett.
Solondz found great critical acclaim with his second feature, Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), a film about the cruelty of junior high school, parents, adult figures, and suburban life. The film won awards at Sundance, Berlin, and countless other festivals for its cruel realism, bitter humor, and unflinching portrayal of adolescence.
His third feature effort, Happiness (1998), was a wildly edgy and provocative film. The film revolves around a group of people who are miserable in their conventional… read more
A 12-year-old boy with Burroughs' Naked Lunch as his bedside book is the kind of thing you could only see in a Todd Solondz movie. And gotta love Charlotte Rampling.
Watching Happiness prior to this film sparked a more sentimental relation to the conflicts presented, but Life During Wartime can stand on its own two feet. Having also seen Welcome to the Dollhouse recently, I feel that this film is Solondz' more visually entertaining film, but it's equally strong in its storytelling as the others. Can't wait to check out the rest of his filmography - I am a fan.
"At 11 minutes long, Tacita Dean's film Prisoner Pair (showing at the Common Guild gallery in Glasgow [through February 5]) is a svelte précis
"Daring the discomfited viewer to laugh at shame and suffering, and then wonder why we're laughing, Todd Solondz is back," announces J Hoberman
Whatever you say about the films of Todd Solondz, and people usually have a lot to say, his posters are often something special. Whether by
While TCM's festival runs on through the weekend, Los Angeles has a couple of other classic numbers playing as well. The Nuart
Above: Todd Solondz's new film, Life in Wartime. White Material (Claire Denis, France) As with a lot of still-young, experimental filmmakers
The Venezia 66 Jury, headed up by Ang Lee, has awarded the Golden Lion to Samuel Maoz's Lebanon; here's the roundup of reviews so
"It was a solid if not stellar year at Telluride," writes Anne Thompson at indieWIRE. "Co-directors Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer perservered
"In revisiting his darkly comic 1998 ensembler Happiness, Todd Solondz may have made his best film with Life During Wartime," proposes Todd
My first Solondz, and it is all about mental illness. Pedophilia, depression, autism, suicide and paranoia about terrorism are all themes. It’s a film about real problems, not a Lena Dunham movie about… read review
I wanted to love this film but instead found it to be a big disappointment. I find Happiness, Storytelling, and Palindromes to be tense, daring and funny usually all at once, which is why I always… read review