Todd Solondz

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Todd Solondz

Todd Solondz (October 15, 1959) is a famous screenwriter and director of independent American film. Known for his dark and reflective satires on society, Solondz has been praised for his exploration of “the dark weaknesses of the peripheral American middle class,” a reflection of his own experiences in New Jersey. of cult Welcome to the Dollhouse, the award-winning Happiness, Storytelling and Palindromes.

Todd_Solondz’s Biography

At first, Solondz considered the possibility of becoming a rabbi, but finally opted for script writing. He wrote several while working as a delivery boy for the Writers Guild of America.

Solondz obtained his postgraduate degree in English from Yale University and attended a course in fine arts (film and television) at New York University, but did not graduate.

At the beginning of the 1990s, he worked as a teacher of English as a second language for recently arrived Russian immigrants, in a shelter located in New York (where he worked with Alexander Gelman, Gary Shteyngart and Roman Turovsky-Savchuk), a experience that he has described as very rewarding (in one of his films, Happiness, one of the characters, Joy, a similar experience is traumatic).

Currently Solondz is an adjunct professor at the School of Arts at the University of New York, where he teaches film direction and writing.

First works

One of his first short films was Schatt’s Last Shot, made in 1985. The main character is a high school boy who wants to enter Stanford University, but his gym teacher hates him and he has no luck with the girl in his class. dreams The short was little seen, but it has been screened in film schools.

In 1989, Solondz wrote and directed Fear, Anxiety & amp; Depression, a comedy about a novice dramatist, Ira (played by Solondz), and his furstrant interactions with the opposite sex. The narrative structure separated into episodes and the casual relationship with the “fourth wall” somehow resemble Annie Hall, and the neurotic and uncomfortable (who also uses glasses) protagonist is assimilated to many of the roles of Woody Allen. Since Solondz’s writing changed considerably after this film, it is similar to his next works, except for his inhospitable worldview and the way in which humor is created from nefarious situations such as suicide and rape. The film contains several musical intervals, including three songs written for the film. Stanley Tucci appears doing one of his first roles, playing a despised acquaintance of Ira, who begins to write on a whim and instantly transforms into a sensation of the theaters off-Broadway. The study criticized Solondz for the film and its general direction; as a result, it is often omitted in his official filmography.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

The frustrations of his first feature film led Solondz to put aside his relationship with the film industry. More than five years later, a lawyer friend suggested he give another opportunity to film making. The result was Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), which won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a comedy of black humor that follows in the footsteps of Dawn Wiener, a toothy and timid girl Seventh grade glasses that mercilessly is disturbed at school and treated with disdain at home. It differed from previous movies about adolescent abuse due to its complex characterization. He portrayed the antagonist (the bully), Brandon, comprehensively, and Dawn, the apparent protagonist and victim of the story, was shown to be flawed and cruel at times. The film was a great success among critics and a moderate success at the box office, it was also a success at festivals, being screened all over the world.


His next work was Happiness (1998), a very controversial film due to the issues he deals with, from rape to pedophilia, suicide, homicide and a social pervert making phone calls. After being rejected by the original distributor, October Films, the film was released by Good Machine Releasing, and it received numerous awards, including the International Critics’ Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and Solondz was praised by the critics. / p>

Storytelling and Palindromes

In 2001, Solondz launched Storytelling, which was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year and is a two-part film, entitled “Fiction” and “Non-fiction”. The two stories share thematic elements, but treat each one differently. This format was used because the director wanted to “find a fresh structure, a fresh form and a different way of approaching what would be a geographically identical material.” When Solondz presented the film to the MPAA, he was told that if he wanted to receive a rating less than R (audiences younger than 17), he had to eliminate an explicit sex scene that included a black man and a white woman. However, due to the clause in the Solondz contract, the censors were forced to allow the scene with a red box that covers the actors. The director said: “It’s a great victory for me to have a big red box, the first red box in a studio film (…) is right in front of you: You’re forbidden to see this in our country.” However, he did have to eliminate a portion of the film (which has been said to be a subplot of the second story or a whole third story) that contained a scene of sensuality involving two male actors (one of which was James Van Der Beek).

The following film, Palindromes (2004), caused surprise among many experts and critics due to its theme of child sexual abuse and abortion. It is a crossover with Welcome to the Dollhouse, since the Wiener family reappears and it is revealed that Dawn Wiener, the protagonist of that film, committed suicide. The film was largely financed by Solondz himself. Like all her previous films, Palindromes is set outside of New Jersey. In the USA UU It was released without classification.

Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime (formerly known as “Forgiveness”) is Solondz’s newest film, the new movie, Solondz said in an interview at Cannes, is a companion to Happiness and Welcome to the Dollhouse. as “A comedy of black humor about sexual obsession”. With a budget of 4.5 million dollars, it has actors like Ally Sheedy, Renee Taylor, Paul Reubens, Chane’t Johnson, Ciaran Hinds, Shirley Henderson, Michael Lerner, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rich Pecci, Charlotte Rampling, Allison Janney and Chris Marquette.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2009, and that same year competed for the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Osella Award for Best Screenplay. < / p>

More Facts about Todd Solondz

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