“Todd Solondz may have made his best film with Life During Wartime.”—Variety
When it is easier to forget, why struggle with forgiveness? Writer/director Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Palindromes) explores this question in the part sequel/part variation on his acclaimed film Happiness (1998). Alternately hilarious and tragic, outrageous and poignant, Life During Wartime is a daring comedy that unexpectedly resonates in contemporary American life. While it is not necessary to see Happiness before seeing this film, there are subtle and very funny references to the previous film for those who are familiar with this work. The same characters, played by different actors, have moved on. Their lives have changed, but the memory of something terrible from the past lingers as three distant sisters reconnect and create a portrait of those seeking love and rebuilding family, all to the backdrop of mounting fear of terrorists.
Solondz is a true independent visionary as he mines the depths of today’s unpredictable and volatile world. Produced by Minneapolis-based Werc Werk Works, the film premiered last month at the Venice Film Festival, where Solondz received the Best Screenplay Award, and went on to the Telluride, Toronto, and New York film festivals. The stellar cast includes Allison Janney, Michael Lerner, Paul Reubens, Charlotte Rampling, and Ally Sheedy. Filmed on location in Puerto Rico, Toronto, and the Twin Cities. Director of photography Ed Lachman used the digital “red” camera system for the first time, making the look as bold as the dialogue. 2009, HD video, 96 minutes.