Part of A Tribute to Paul Reubens
Featuring one of the greatest line readings of his career, Paul Reubens plays an aggrieved ex who haunts his former lover in this quasi-sequel to outré auteur Todd Solondz’s HAPPINESS.
In LIFE DURING WARTIME, independent filmmaker Todd Solondz explores contemporary American existence and the nature of forgiveness with his customary dry humor and queasy precision. The film functions as a distorted mirror image of Solondz’s acclaimed 1998 dark comedy, its emotionally stunted characters now groping for the possibility of change in a post-9/11 world. HAPPINESS’ grim New Jersey setting is transposed mainly to sunny Florida, but the biggest twist is that new actors fill the roles from the earlier film — including Shirley Henderson, Allison Janney and Ally Sheedy as alarmingly dissimilar sisters, and Ciarán Hinds hauntingly embodying a reformed pedophile. Shot in expressionistic tones by cinematographer extraordinaire Ed Lachman, Solondz’s film finds the humor in the tragic and the tragic in the everyday. (Synopsis courtesy of Criterion Collection)
Programmer’s Note: For the Tue, Sep 19 screening, LIFE DURING WARTIME plays back-to-back showtimes with CHEECH AND CHONG’S NICE DREAMS. Both will screen in 35mm and represent both the earliest and most recent of Paul Reubens’ films in this series, and their respective tones couldn’t be further apart on the spectrum of comedy. The man had range.