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Holocaust," Solondz said.
His new film, Palindromes, revisits the
suburbs to pit Jewish liberal par-
eople call me a provocateur,"
born-again Christians (and
filmmaker Todd Solondz said.
in the great American
"I'd say that's fair."
abortion debate. Stuck in the middle is
Peering out from his oversized thick
13-year-old Aviva, who is played by
green glasses, dressed in rose-colored
eight different actors and who gets her-
pants, a nubby gray sweater and yellow
looks like inde-
incendiary. But in
an interview to
promote his new
to have an
— which skewers
hypocrisy in both
camps of the abor-
tion debate — he
insists his films do Hannah Freiman and Ellen Barkin
not shock for
"There is a kind of prodding, a
needling to wake people up from their
complacency and smugness," he said
Solondz, 45, whose nasal accent
precisely and unemotionally. "As a film-
belies his own New Jersey roots,
maker, you need to do certain radical
believes the film is neither pro-life nor
things to achieve that."
pro-choice. "I wanted to look at the
Considered perhaps more radical
than fellow filmmaking iconoclasts Neil moral consequences and ramifications
of what it means to take on one of
LaBute and John Waters, Solondz's
these labels," he said.
grim satires have featured mocking and
On the one hand, Barkin's character
mordant takes on subjects such as
to be "a sensible, progressive par-
pedophilia and sadistic interracial sex.
ent," he said. "If she were given a
His excruciating 1996 comedy,
form, she would check off 'anti-war,'
Welcome to the Dollhouse — about a
`pro-gun control,' 'pro-gay rights' and
geeky four-eyed preteen who strikingly
the correct liberal causes. And yet,
resembles Solondz — originally titled
confronted with this terrible real-
Faggots and Retards, was a kind of anti-
her pregnant 13-year-old daugh-
Wonder Years that dispelled myths
is pro-choice so long as she does
about childhood sexuality.
the choosing." Mama Sunshine, mean-
His award-winning 1998 film,
while, virtuously takes in abandoned
Happiness, which included a nice sub-
children while helping to kill abortion
urban dad with a predilection for little
boys, was so scandalous, the studio that doctors.
"Aviva is suspended between a pro-
financed the movie elected not to dis-
family that gives her no choice
family that kills,"
In 2001's Storytelling, a New Jersey
Holocaust refugee's daughter mouths
platitudes about the Shoah and solicits
tzedakah while ignoring the plight of
Palindromes begins with the Jewish
her Salvadoran maid. When the house-
of Dollhouse's heroine, Dawn
keeper gasses the family to death, it is
Aviva's cousin, who has com-
in part punishment for "trivializing and
exploiting the tragedy of the
Solondz said he wasn't happy about
Filmmaker Todd Solondz continues string of
incendiary films with "Palindromes."