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April 8, 2005

An Evening with Todd Solondz

Director in Person
Screening on April 8 (Friday) 7 pm


Directed by Todd Solondz
US, 2004, color, 100 min.
With Ellen Barkin, Richard Masur, Stephen Adly-Guirgis

The films of Todd Solondz are, in a word, polarizing. Some reject what are perceived to be his misanthropic tendencies while others praise his unflinching ability to present the world, warts and all. His latest film will undoubtedly draw similar reactions for its unconventional formal conceit. Palindromes explores the journey of Aviva, the thirteen year-old cousin of Welcome to the Dollhouse protagonist Dawn Weiner, who follows her unstoppable desire to become a teen mother. As his character crosses the country to fulfill her wish, Solondz makes the bold choice to cast a series of actors of varying race and gender to play the role of Aviva in each of the film’s clearly delineated segments. The result is unsettling, humorous, jaded, and perfectly suited to the bent world of one of contemporary cinema’s great provocateurs.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Directed by Todd Solondz
US, 1996, color, 88 min.
With Heather Matarazzo, Victoria Davis, Christina Brucato

Todd Solondz’s first feature, although characteristically cynical, is also his most expressive and compassionate. While the characters that populate Solondz’s films are often recipients of his contempt—despite his assertions to the contrary—the infamous Dawn Weiner is a heightened reflection of childhood insecurity and school-induced trauma. Dawn is an unattractive seventh-grader who is mocked by her entire school, belittled by her smart, nerdy brother, and relegated beneath her ballerina sister in familial importance. Solondz uses expressive costuming and set design in addition to his trademark black humor to demonstrate Dawn’s isolation and frustration.

Special thanks to Wellspring Media

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