Archive of films Life During Wartime / Life During Wartime

2009, 96 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2010

Three sisters and their loved ones. What might at first glance look like a lurid love tale soon takes on hints of anxiety, gloom, and black humor. A more normal and yet more bizarre film in its lack of ostentation than anything by David Lynch, the movie took Best Screenplay at the Venice IFF.


What might pass for a banal relationship drama takes on a completely different dimension in the hands of unorthodox screenwriter and director Todd Solondz. Although the protagonists of Life During Wartime hash out problems that might push the movie towards pure melodrama, the filmmaker proves that directly spoken dialogue doesn’t necessarily mean that we understand everything. Despite the fact that interpersonal relationships are primarily limited in Solondz’s presentation to conversations about such relationships, the more we find out about them, the more complicated our understanding becomes. Interactions are illustrated in all their formality, thus revealing the hypocrisy, duplicity, and oddity they contain, and the film offers many things we wouldn’t normally expect from a relationship comedy. Beyond placing his characters in clutch situations, the director tries to nail down what his heroes actually lack despite their absolute sincerity. Life During Wartime is a sleekly composed film which attempts to straighten out its protagonists’ lives.

About the director

Todd Solondz (b. 1959, Newark, New Jersey) graduated in film from New York University and soon became one of the icons of American independent filmmaking. His breakthrough came with Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), which he wrote, produced, and directed, earning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance among other awards. The film screened at Karlovy Vary, as did Happiness (1998), which took awards at Cannes and São Paulo, and served as a prequel of sorts to Life During Wartime. Solondz’s Storytelling (2001) premiered at the Cannes festival and The New York Times judged it one of the 10 best films of the year. Palindromes (2004), in which eight actors portray the same character, competed at Venice and was also presented at the Karlovy Vary IFF.


Fortissimo Films
Van Diemenstraat 100, 1013 CN, Amsterdam
Tel: +31 206 273 215
Fax: +31 206 261 155

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Todd Solondz
Screenplay: Todd Solondz
Dir. of Photography: Ed Lachman
Editor: Kevin Messman
Producer: Christine Kunewa Walker, Derrick Tseng
Production: Werc Werk Works
Cast: Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds, Allison Janney, Michael Lerner, Chris Marquette, Rich Pecci
Contact: Fortissimo Films


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