Making movies costs lots and lots of money. Dependency is the name of the game in the studio system and the cliché of the executive producer coming to set and scaring everybody straight is surely based on actual events. ‘Indies’ used to be the alternative to that system, but that movement is now so big, such an institution in its own right, that ‘Independent’ may no longer be the most accurate nomenclature. ‘Indie’ is one of the haziest terms in the film industry; in the era of Steven Soderbergh’s watershed indie hit SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, things were more cut and dry, you were either in or outside of the studio system.
After a stint of experimental flops – 2001′s STORYTELLING and PALINDROMES in 2004 – writer/director Todd Solondz’s latest film, LIFE DURING WARTIME, marks a return to the familiar world of HAPPINESS, his successful 1998 follow up to his break out film WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE. HAPPINESS revolves around a family of three sisters: Helen, a successful, jaded writer, Trish, a Mrs. Cleaver type in pleated khakis and Joy, a frizzy-haired, soft-spoken, flower child screw up. Perversion and pedophilia, two of Solondz’s all-time favorite themes, are hard at work here, whether it’s Philip Seymour-Hoffman’s character jerking off to calls to random women in the phone book or Trish’s husband Bill, the unsuspecting nebbish (Dylan Baker) who rapes his son’s friend from little league.
The NY Film Festival needs little introduction. Every year much anticipated films from well respected and brand new directors are screened alongside a timeless classic or two. With categories that range from Religious Interest (Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST) to Women’s Interest (Bong Joon-ho’s MOTHER) to French (Jacques Rivette’s AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN) to American Independents…