So, let's sum up what we've learned about human nature from the films of Todd Solondz: 1 All people are either guileless turds, ruthless hypocrites, or hapless fools. Here endeth the lesson, and yes, there will be a test. The test is called Storytelling , an minute "fuck you" of a film that represents Solondz's first major disappointment. Solondz is the laureate of humiliation. His last two films, Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness , comprised a doctoral dissertation on moral bleakness, in which a parade of social outcasts visit dehumanizing cruelty upon one another in increasingly dismal scenarios. Sometimes the cruelty is malicious, sometimes it's inadvertent; but it always comes, and it's always brutal. It's also painfully funny, which is why the controversial director enjoys a following.
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January is where the major studios dump their mistakes. Kubrick inserted little boxes to obscure the bumping of uglies. Solondz has always sided with outsiders, such as those from the New Jersey burbs that spawned him. Fear, Anxiety and Depression made an apt title for his debut film.
Todd Solondz Gets Revenge on His Audience
A film that vehemently divided viewers, the violent reaction to Todd Solondz's 'burbs-set black comedy Happiness was enough to prompt the New Jersey auteur to take issue. While Happiness's amoral portrayal of paedophiles, sex pests and other misfits incensed some, others saw his manipulation of these loners and losers as misanthropic and exploitative. The film was dropped by distributor October Films, following pressure from parent company Universal, who deemed its subject-matter unacceptable. Storytelling, Solondz's fourth film, is his retort — to fans and detractors alike — as he self-consciously puzzles over the response to his past work. Conceived as companion pieces, the film is divided into two stories, Fiction and Non-Fiction, each resonating with the other's themes.