Playing Thu Dec 01 at 7:00 at reRun Gastropub Theater [Program & Tix]
reRun Gastropub Theater’s week-long analog-video revival closes with the film that nearly aborted Todd Solondz’s career. Six years before he made Welcome to the Dollhouse (the funniest, most unfailingly honest portrait of grade school’s psychological horrors), Solondz directed and starred in a feature debut satirizing downtown Manhattan’s art scene.
Fear, Anxiety & Depression was re-edited by the studio, released in New York to little fanfare, frequently and unflatteringly compared to Annie Hall, and subsequently disowned by Solondz (who now refuses to discuss it in interviews). Nonetheless, the film has developed a modestly loyal following and a wider reputation for having some very funny sequences despite its unevenness.
Todd Solondz’ first feature is also his one and only turn as a leading man. It’s too bad, because he has an amazing “Woody Allen’s awkward cousin who dropped out of art-school” thing going for him. And he sings, too! Posing as a send-up of the Lower East Side 80s scene while simultaneously being a product of it, Fear, Anxiety & Depression exhibits a playfulness and refusal to take itself seriously that Solondz has unfortunately been purging from his work for the rest of his career.
One of Solondz’s musical interludes, “Neat Kind of Guy,” with short prelude: