Tuesday, October 16, 2007

todd solondz movies

After more than a year without posting, I realized I felt extremely sorry for this blog and decided to do something about it.

Todd Solondz is a director I only came across two weeks ago. I watched “Happiness”, the movie he directed in 1998, with little expectations, but as the movie progressed, my interest grew bigger and bigger. As soon as the movie finished, I was curious to see another of the director’s movies, in order to form an opinion. I watched Storytelling. I was further intrigued, and finished watching two others, Palindromes and Welcome to the Dollhouse.

Everybody says that Solondz makes weird movies, some say he makes weird and sick movies. But the reason I find his work so interesting is that he doesn’t make weird movies for the sake of weirdness, he’s not purely shocking for the sake of it. On the contrary, he focuses on life aspects that I’m sure can definitely be part of the real suburban life, and invites us to discover and investigate them. I think we all know or hear life stories that are awkward, and we’re not sure about how to react at their bizarreness: we’re amused and we laugh, and at the same time we’re shocked and outraged. And this is the kind of complex state Solondz’s movies induced to me. “I don’t like victim stories and I don’t write them […]There can be a blurry line between laughing at the expense of a character and laughing at the recognition of something painful and true”, the director says in an interview which explains quite interestingly the essence and dynamics of his work. I didn’t watch his movies thinking about them as a sick outcome of a sick person’s imagination, but rather actually feeling some very sad sides of human existence. They’re not “freak shows”, they’re takes on the sometimes freaky spectacle of life: “When I want to show the kind of meanness people are capable of, to make it believable I find I have to tone it down. It’s in real life that people are over the top. And if I have a certain view of how people behave in this regard, it’s because I’ve been a target for a certain kind of comment all my life. Perfect strangers have always felt free to say things to me in the street, or shout things from passing cars.”

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