Storytelling, Todd Solondz, USA, 2001, 87', OV with Spanish subtitles, DCP.
The Master of Incorrectness. Mr Ironic. Mr Bitter, Mr Perverse, Mr Satirical, Mr Merciless. Someone who, throughout his career, has ravaged the values of American society. Who has bared his most unspeakable secrets. That not-so-young young spark who made Happiness (1988), and who reached the very top, though before that and since attaining such heights, he has continued to be among the most provocative independent directors alive. Todd Solondz; yes, that, sure enough, is who we’re talking about. And we are presenting here a double portrait of the man, focusing on the world of creative writing. The first part is called “Fiction” and focuses on writing classes at a school. The second part is called “Non-Fiction” and is the portrait of a broken family and its teenaged son. With music by Belle & Sebastian. The work was presented in Un Certain Regard.
Todd Solondz’s Storytelling is a film about fiction, and non-fiction genres, narrative and documentary. The first part, dubbed fiction, takes us into the creative writing seminars that are common in the American academic system, where the writers of the future have to tussle with the authority of the widely recognised professor-writer. The relations that revolve around imparting-teaching-passing-on-know-how that all such teaching necessarily involves, the mechanisms of subjectivity of aspiring writers are deconstructed with the biting irony that is the hallmark of this filmmaker. The second part, non-fiction, delves into secondary education, high school, and into that “there’s-no-future” feeling always so prevalent among youth. I think it is highly interesting and extremely pertinent to view this in a cultural context where the extension of Academia, the seemingly never-ending university life, is one of the features of our post-Fordian society. Storytelling also takes direct aim at the problems of political correctness, (of which so much is said these days), and the institutionalization of cultural studies. It also constitutes a genre in which the art of narrating, to which the title refers, Storytelling, opens possibilities for practical and active implementation. I can’t think of a better film to incite thought about writing and its processes. Hence my decision to programme it within the framework of a seminar or workshop on art criticism and writing.”