×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Solondz revisits dark themes 

Venice pic 'Wartime' centers on child abuse

Ten years after his controversial “Happiness” caused a stir, touching on themes of pedophilia and rape, Todd Solondz is back with the quasi-sequel, “Life During Wartime,” which confirmed the ultra-indie helmer still has a taste for dark humor and twisted American lives, as it bowed promisingly on the Lido.

 “I don’t mean to be pessimistic: We live in a time in which (Barack) Obama is president, which of course is a major achievement for the country,” Solondz told Variety. “But that’s not an elixir. So I just try to examine things as truthfully as I can.”

Explaining the pic’s title, which is merely allegorical, given that there are no concrete references to armed conflict in the film, Solondz said, “We live in this time of war, but yet we are so insulated from its reality.”

Child abuse, instead, is very present in a literal sense in “Wartime,” as is the theme of dysfunctional parenthood, to put it mildly. And of course, each character is trapped in a world of extreme loneliness and alienation.

 “My movies are there to provoke, but in a way that provokes us to think,” Solondz said. “They reflect the way in which I see the world. It’s not a world without hope; but hope has a price, and we have to think about the nature of hope.”

However, Solondz underlined that he played up the satirical side of his “Wartime” characters, who are not conceived as being naturalistic.

“The comedy and the pathos with which these characters are portrayed is what moves me. It’s not about succeeding in one’s struggles, it’s about the struggle itself,” he said.

He also stressed that he never intended the film to pick up where “Happiness” left off, or for all the characters to continue the ones in the previous pic. 

“I wanted to have the freedom to just re-create and play with these characters,” said Solondz. “If I need to change them, I change them.”

As for the long gestation of the film, which is the first produced by new Minneapolis-based indie production and finance shingle Werc Werk Works, Solondz said he benefited “from the extra time that passed in terms of the way (the material) was reshaped.”

He and cinematographer Ed Lachman also made the most of monetary constraints by shooting with a small, state-of-the art RED digital camera on which Lachman mounted his set of vintage lenses from the 1950s and ’60s.

 

 

 

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • BETWEEN TWO FERNS, 2019, PH_0027.RAF

    Film Review: 'Between Two Ferns: The Movie'

    If you’re a fan of “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis,” the fake public-access talk show that Zach Galifianakis has been hosting online, for three to six minutes a pop, over the last 10 years, then you’ll probably like “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” the snark-lite 82-minute road movie that Galifianakis and his director and [...]

  • The Irishman

    Martin Scorsese, Frances McDormand, Donald Sutherland Join Lineup of France's Lumiere Festival

    Martin Scorsese’s eagerly awaited Netflix movie “The Irishman” wasn’t completed on time to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, but Thierry Fremaux, Cannes’s topper, managed to pin down the high-profile movie and Scorsese himself for the upcoming Lumiere festival in Lyon next month. Dedicated to heritage movies, the Lumiere festival was created 10 years [...]

  • 'Aladdin' Star Mena Massoud Calls for

    'Aladdin' Star Mena Massoud Calls for a Broader Diversity of Storytelling in Movies and TV

    The star of “Aladdin,” Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud, called for a greater diversity of storytelling in movies and television when he spoke at the glamorous opening ceremony Thursday of the 3rd edition of Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival. Massoud, whose credits include Amazon’s “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” and Hulu’s “Reprisal,” lauded “the power of art” [...]

  • 4127_D015_00199_RC(l-r) Laura Carmichael stars as Lady

    Box Office: 'Downton Abbey' Beats 'Ad Astra,' 'Rambo: Last Blood' on Thursday Night

    “Downton Abbey,” the movie continuation of the hit TV series centering on the Crawley family, has won Thursday previews with $2.1 million from 2,800 North American locations. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” has launched with $1.5 million in previews, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: Last Blood” scooped up $1.3 million at nearly 2,900 [...]

  • Renee Zellweger'Judy' film premiere, Arrivals, Samuel

    'Judy's' L.A. Premiere: Renée Zellweger Takes Another Ruby Step Toward the Oscars

    Renée Zellweger continues to follow the yellow brick road to the Oscars. The Los Angeles premiere of Judy on Thursday night in Beverly Hills kept the Academy Award winner on track for a possible second win come February. “We’re just so happy we’re able to share it with you tonight,” Zellweger said to the crowd [...]

  • Benedict Andrews (L) and US actress

    Kristen Stewart on the 'Insane Gall' of Directors as 'Seberg' Arrives in San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – On Friday, Kristen Stewart and Benedict Andrews’ political thriller “Seberg” plays at the 67th San Sebastian Film Festival, where it opens Perlak, a section dedicated to the Spanish premieres of major international films. The star and her director addressed the media prior to the screening in the festival’s first high-profile press conference, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content