For a guy with such a delicate voice, soft features and big eyeglasses, you’d never think Todd Solondz could piss off so many people. But with themes of rape, molestation, race and disability lining his repertoire of uniquely uncomfortable films — Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness, Palindromes — Solondz has his angry detractors.
His latest film, Dark Horse, played to a packed house Saturday night at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, with Solondz and lead actor Jordan Gelber taking questions following what may be one of Solondz’s strangest and most focused films. One lacking the more challenging, repulsive ideas that have played a part in Solondz’s previous titles. The writer-director calls it “the saddest of all my comedies.” Hah. Personally, I found Dark Horse to be another interesting Solondz nose-thumbing exercise at conventional cinema language, with all the awkward humor you’d expect. And some sincerely tender moments you might not.
Speaking of awkward humor, during the Q&A, Solondz was asked about his intentions to be funny and what they mean to different audiences. It led to this story… (shot on an iPhone in the dark, pardon the questionable quality and the finger shadow… )