May 9, 2005 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Todd Solondz interview. Writer/director Solondz, and Elvis Mitchell, (ex)NYTimes film critic, in a beautiful discussion of Solondz's films, the universality of Dawn Wiener, and Solondz's new film "Palindromes". From Mitchell's radio show " The Treatment".
posted by R. Mutt (21 comments total)
Thanks for the link. Solondz is a true maverick, someone who takes on difficult subjects and handles them honestly and compassionately.
posted by jonmc at 6:59 AM on May 9, 2005

Good link. I liked this interview in the Believer, too.
posted by jasonsmall at 7:28 AM on May 9, 2005

Great stuff, big Solondz fan. Thanks!
posted by gsb at 7:46 AM on May 9, 2005

Solondz is the most misanthropic filmmaker alive (at least within the studio system.)

I find all his films after "Welcome to the Dollhouse" to be so over-the-top hateful of humanity to be basically unwatchable. He conflates exploitation of hot-button subjects as honesty, and unremitting brutality as compassion.

And his humor is cheap.
posted by gwint at 8:09 AM on May 9, 2005

I find all his films after "Welcome to the Dollhouse"...

So why do you keep watching his films?
posted by R. Mutt at 8:26 AM on May 9, 2005

Concur with gwint, except have avoided latter films after first 15 minutes.
posted by cavalier at 8:37 AM on May 9, 2005

Solondz's films are unwatchable, though not for the reasons he'd prefer. He's not a "maverick", he's not shocking, he's not daring, and he's not brave and unflinching. He's just a facile, ineffective writer who chooses topics that are textually grabbing to hide the fact that his execution (both writing and directing) lacks subtlety or nuance and is essentially masturbatory. (Like a fiction-producing Nick Broomfield.)

He's fortunate (as is Broomfield and, for that matter, Paul Thomas Anderson) that lots of people enjoy watching faux intellectuals wank off onto celluloid. These are the same people who want to give the appearance of sophistication by watching films from the Premieres and Dramatic Competition sections of the Sundance Film Festival (consistently the worst things about the festival) without actually analyzing the films themselves.
posted by gramschmidt at 8:56 AM on May 9, 2005

Palindrome (second meaning)= A segment of double strand DNA in which the nucleotide sequence in one strand reads in reverse order to that of the complementary strand.

This brought to you by Todd may be another grateful moment where I realize that I'm not as pathetic as I could have been. The brutal dehumanization makes me feel lucky.
posted by Viomeda at 9:08 AM on May 9, 2005

I liked Happiness. It was funny.
posted by hojoki at 9:10 AM on May 9, 2005

I find all his films after "Welcome to the Dollhouse"...

So why do you keep watching his films?

I thought Dollhouse showed a lot of promise. But I'm done with him now.
posted by gwint at 9:10 AM on May 9, 2005

Offtopic: the Frank Miller interview is pretty good, too.
posted by gsb at 9:38 AM on May 9, 2005

The Believer interview's great. I didn't realize it would be online. Thanks, jasonsmall.
posted by nobody at 10:37 AM on May 9, 2005

oldleada, Christian Lorentzen apparently hates hipsters, whatever those are. He gave Wes Anderson similar treament. What utter nonsense.

Talk about hipster :
" Christian Lorentzen ’99 [Harvard] and Kelly sit down at in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. They met when she was a waitress at Charlie’s and Xian was a double cheeseburger addict. Both currently reside in Brooklyn chasing opportunity not clear and present in their beloved Beantown."


"Xian: Even though I’m always surrounded by people that I love, lots of friends, I have this idea about life’s essential loneliness. And I think when I’m old I’ll still spend a lot of time sitting in this brown chair with big arms that I call the throne chair...."
posted by Cassford at 10:52 AM on May 9, 2005

Oh, Todd, how I long to take off your big nerd glasses and kiss your thin lips and yellowed teeth. Why don't you love me, Todd? I'm here, I'm real! Why must you be so lonely?
posted by fungible at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2005

Cassford, I get more of a kick out of Lorentzen's movie stuff than you do, but he is kind of a self-loathing/self-admiring dipshit in that Crimson interview:

"My one fear has always been insanity, or, more precisely, losing my mind. That, I don’t think has happened yet...."

Perhaps by now it has.
posted by oldleada at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2005

Solondz is the most misanthropic filmmaker alive

Neil LaBute? Friends and Neighbors?

Solondz tries to ground his characters in reality, much more so than LaBute, who just seems cheap and transgressive for the sake of transgressivism.

I'm going to see Palindromes this week. I'm really looking forward to it. That Believer interview is excellent.

I don't trust too many writers who use the word "hipster."
posted by mrgrimm at 12:49 PM on May 9, 2005

LaBute can certainly be shocking - that scalping in "Nurse Betty" really got to me (probably because I thought I was watching a comedy) - but as far as transgressive goes, I would recommend Noe, Seidl, or Hanneke.

Solondz compares with these European big boys far better than LaBute IMHO. And once again MeFi shows its true colours, as regards sexual taboos, which is to say: eww, gross, sick, stay away, etc.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:06 PM on May 9, 2005

stinkycheese: it's not just sexual taboos that solondz goes after. He's all about ruthless self-examination of all kinds, and that's bound to make even the most putatively open-minded "liberal" person squirm, but they'd rather attack the messenger than admit it.
posted by jonmc at 5:12 PM on May 9, 2005

as much as i admire the technique of solondz's movies (the really gorgeous, color-saturated widescreen cinematography contrasted with the grotesque subject matter; the experimental techniques he uses, such as the multiple actresses playing aviva in palindromes), i always get the impression that he's like a kid pulling the heads off his sister's barbie dolls. not because this is a central image in dollhouse, either, but because there's this streak of cruelty in his films. if you compare his movies to those of -- say -- john waters, who clearly has a lot of love for baltimore and the working-class people who live there, solondz maintains a greater sense of schaenfraude towards all his characters.

side note: at least solondz knows what he's doing. i can't get past neil labute's bad camera placement and inability to coherently edit his films. or his "mallard fillmore"-like approach to politics.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:38 PM on May 9, 2005

I'm not versed in Solondz' work nearly enough to comment on it's body, but for those who've taken the chance to openly lash out at the guy, grow up. So he makes movies you don't like; so do a lot of other people. The fact you continually watch what you seem to have decided is "crap" long ago, means you're really in no position to complain. If you stuck your hand on the stove and got burned, you'd get sympathy. Do it five more times, I'm going to contemplate sawing your hand off, or asking you to scream in your "indoor voice".

I'm not a fan of "artistic" movies, I find they generally go over my head or I'm just not in the mood. That said, just because I don't like some undoubtedly avant garde, post-modern, existentialist, pseudo-misanthropic, depress-fest, doesn't mean I'm not open minded. Chances are, it means I just don't care about the movie. That said, more power to the fellow who made it; hopefully someone enjoys his efforts.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:27 AM on May 10, 2005

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