Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The art of provocation

Todd Solondz 3
Originally uploaded by MovieJulie.
A friend of mine asked today about Nordic films as we had a drink before the cinema. He knew Lars von Trier and he had seen Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth so he had an idea about Finnish and Danish film (although Jarmusch is not Finnish, his Helsinki scene is one of the most recognised images of our dear capital). I described Swedish film to him by using Fucking Åmål and Fjorton suger as examples of how the Swedes are masters in showing the anxeity of a teenager girl.

Well, as it happened, our film was about the same subject: Todd "Happiness" Solondz's Palindromes. Not to reveal too much of it, it is a story of a teenager called Aviva who goes through teenager pregnancies, abortion clinics and pedophilia in a very Solondz-like manner. It plays with the controversial subject in the same way as von Trier did with racial inequalities in Manderlay. But to Solondz's benefit I have to state that the closing scene of the film shows that there is a certain morale behind the film.

Based on previous Solondz works one could expect absurd black humour. In this film the topics under fire are religion, pro life campaigners, over caring parents etc. Ellen Barkin, Sharon Wilkins and Jennifer Jason Leigh do magnificent roles in this film.

I actually liked this one far more than the irritatingly underlining "here comes the shocking scene" Happiness. With his repulsive means Solondz manages to make a firm statement.

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