directed by Todd Solondz
USA 2004

 

Todd Solondz is one of the few filmmakers of today, for which cinema may serve a function, but who’s films doesn’t serve cinema. To say that his films are bad makes as little sense as to say that they are good. They just are. What Solondz does is offering us something. Whether we like it or understand it is up to us. Either way, the world seems different after having watched one of his films, and because of that, Todd Solondz is a filmmaker who mainly should be experienced.

In “Palindromes”, Solondz offers alternate views on born again Christians, paedophilia and abortion, telling the story of Aviva, a 12-year old girl who only wants to become pregnant, as she wants a baby, so she has something to love. After having gotten pregnant with the son of family friends, her mother forces her to get an abortion, after which Aviva runs away from home and into a the real world.

One intriguing element of “Palindromes” is, that Solondz portraits Aviva thru 8 actresses, of different ages, ethnicities and sizes; in one scene she is a 8 year old black girl, in the next, she is a 14 year old white girl with red hair. In the same way he refuses to offer us any arguments, any stands against murder, rape, abortion, paedophilia, Solondz refuses us to pin down the physical appearance of Aviva. She is an abstraction, a figment of his imagination, just as the story is naked ideas and situations.

A far more complex element is the title itself. Where all his previous films have had titles which related to the story and theme (Happiness, Storytelling), one has to question what Palindrome relates to. While the word most commonly is read as “…a word that reads the same backward or forward”, it also means recurring, which perhaps makes more sense. By having Aviva being played by 8 different actresses, by having her being an abstract, one could argue that “Palindromes” is about coming of age, as what Aviva goes thru is recurs to every girl, and the events are merely a variety of situations. It could also lead back to the situations presented, the abortion, the paedophile and so forth, all are situations which always has been and always will be discussed. It is also possible to read the title in relation to Solondz as a filmmaker, as he begins the film with the funeral of Dawn, his protagonist from “Welcome to the Dollhouse”, and while we hear Dawn play on the piano, we see the title “Palindrome”, and a few moments later Aviva fears to become as Dawn.

Regardless of which, if any, “Palindromes” is another completely original fable about American life by one of cinemas most unique visionaries.
 

Henrik Sylow

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 3, 2004 (Telluride Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Tartan - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Distribution

Tartan

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:36:01 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.79 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital English, 5.1 Dolby Digital English, DTS English
Subtitles English (HoH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:47 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: September 26, 2005
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Chapters 16

 

 

Comments In accordance with the specific wishes of director Todd Solondz, no extras are included.

This is basically a DVD5. The film including 2.0 Dolby Digital and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks fit on a DVD5, only because of its DTS track, the storage takes up 5.6 GB.

And it shows. Colors appear oversaturated and colors blend. Look at Image #6 and watch how the red bleeds into the green grass. Of compression artifacts, the most visible are color banding and macro blocking. While Tartan suggests that the absence of extras allows maximizing the quality of sound and vision, vision clearly has suffered from being overcompressed.

The aspect ration has also been altered from its OAR of 1.85:1 to 1.78:1, but whether it has been opened or cropped, a comparison with the R1 DVD should tell.

Sound is on the other hand superb. Again, this is not a film that will benefit from surround, but all three tracks are very well mixed.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 






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Distribution

Tartan

Region 0 - PAL


 




 

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