TODD SOLONDZ (born October 15, 1959) is an American independent film screenwriter and director known for his style of dark, thought-provoking, socially conscious satire . Solondz has been critically acclaimed for his examination of the "dark underbelly of middle class American suburbia ," a reflection of his own background in New Jersey. His work includes Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998), Storytelling (2001), Palindromes (2004), Life During Wartime (2009), Dark Horse (2011), and Wiener-Dog (2016).
* 1 Biography * 2 Early films
* 3 Feature films
* 3.1 Welcome to the Dollhouse * 3.2 Happiness * 3.3 Storytelling and Palindromes * 3.4 Life During Wartime * 3.5 Dark Horse * 3.6 Wiener-Dog
* 4 Academic work * 5 Awards * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links
Solondz was born in Newark ,
During the early 1990s, Solondz worked as a teacher of English as a
second language to newly arrived Russian immigrants at
NYANA , a
refugee resettlement agency in New York City (his co-workers there
Alexander Gelman ,
Solondz is an atheist . In The A.V. Club 's article "Is There a God?", he answered the question "Well, me, I'm an atheist, so I don't really believe there is. But I suppose I could be proven wrong."
One of Solondz's short films, Schatt's Last Shot, was made in 1985. The title character is a high schooler who wants to get into Stanford , but his gym teacher hates him. The teacher fails him because he cannot make a shot in basketball. He has no luck with the girl of his dreams, but he wishes he was more like the coach, whom he challenges to a game of one-on-one.
In 1989 Solondz wrote and directed Fear, Anxiety "> The end result
Welcome to the Dollhouse , which went on to win the Grand
Jury Prize at the
Sundance Film Festival
Solondz's next piece was Happiness (1998), a highly controversial film due to the themes explored in it, which range from rape , pedophilia , suicide and murder to a bizarre sexual phone caller. After the original distributor October Films dropped it, the film was distributed by Good Machine Releasing . The movie received numerous awards, including International Critics' Prize at the Cannes Film Festival , and yielded strong critical praise for Solondz.
STORYTELLING AND PALINDROMES
In 2001, Solondz released Storytelling , which premiered at the 2001
Cannes Film Festival . It is a film separated into two parts,
entitled "Fiction" and "Nonfiction." The two stories share two
thematic elements, but deal with each in an autonomous manner. Solondz
used this format because he wanted to "find a fresh structure, a fresh
form, and a different way of tackling what may be identical
geographical material." When Solondz initially presented the film to
MPAA , he was told that if he wished to receive a rating other
than NC-17 , he would have to remove a scene of explicit sex involving
a white female and a black male. However, a clause in Solondz's
contract allowed him to cover part of the actors with a bright red
box. "For me it's a great victory to have a big red box, the first red
box in any studio feature it's right in your face: You're not allowed
to see this in our country." Solondz did, however, remove a portion
of the film (which has variously been reported as either a subplot of
the second story, or a third story entirely) which contained a sex
scene involving two male actors (one of whom was
James Van Der Beek
Solondz's next film, Palindromes (2004), raised the eyebrows of many pundits and reviewers due to its themes of child molestation, statutory rape and abortion . The film was financed largely by the filmmaker. Like all of Solondz's previous films, Palindromes is set in suburban New Jersey. It was released unrated in the US.
LIFE DURING WARTIME
Life During Wartime (formerly known as Forgiveness) was produced by
John Hart and Evamere Entertainment and released in 2009. Solondz
said the film is a companion piece to Happiness and Welcome to the
Dollhouse. Life During Wartime has characters in common with the two
earlier films, but played by different actors and with loose
continuity. Information about the characters in the film, and their
differences from those of its predecessor Happiness, first emerged in
August 2009. The film features
The film debuted at the
Telluride Film Festival
In July 2010 Solondz completed the script of his next film, Dark
Horse , which was filmed in Fall 2010. To Solondz's surprise, the
Creative Artists Agency
On September 5, 2011, Dark Horse was presented at the Venice Film Festival . On October 14, 2011, Dark Horse made its European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. The film received a mixed reception. On April 23, 2012, Dark Horse was announced as the Closing Night selection for Maryland Film Festival 2012.
Wiener-Dog premiered at Sundance 2016. The film tells the story of a dog, as it travels from home to home. Amazon purchased the film at the festival.
On December 19, 2009, Solondz joined as adjunct professor the New
Tisch School of the Arts
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