East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Palindromes, or, A man, a plan, a movie: Ivomanalpanama? [SFIFF '05 movie note]

All but alone among cinema's provocateurs, Todd Solondz has observed people well enough to induce reasonably deep thought as well as disgust: it's not him that makes us feel guilty at laughing at the handicapped Christian kids' dance routine, it's ourselves. Solondz is as cruel as Lars von Trier, but where Lars believes a nasty streak is vital to the superior artiste, Toddy knows that it just shows that you're an asshole. (Lord knows smart people are more likely to be pessimists, but that doesn't make them right.) "Genes and randomness, that's all there is," his accused paedophile stand-in says (as if that wasn't more than anyone could deal with.) Aviva #8 (Jennifer Jason Leigh) cuts him down with the movie's best line, yet we see she doesn't hate him, she's sorry for him. Solondz is confused by the pity of others, since for him, self-pity conquers all.


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