The Todds and I'm Not There
To Scott Foundas:
I'm Not There is such a knock off of Palindromes and Palindromes is a much better film. I'm Not There is so often called original and I'm so surprised that no one, especially L.A. Weekly, ever stated anything about Palindromes or Todd Solondz's truly original filmmaking.
This paper was too busy making a huge cover story hailing I'm Not There and Todd Haynes, when in fact his so called originality was stolen from a film that didn't have as much money put into it. I find it hard to believe that no one within L.A. Weekly, especially the film reviewers, ever made this connection as the Todd Solondz film was only released in 2004, so it couldn't be considered an homage.
Give credit where credit's due and Todd Haynes' horrible film should certainly be excluded.
Actually, it could be argued that both Todds—Haynes and Solondz—”stole” their approach from Luis Bunuel, who used two actresses interchangeably to play the same character in his 1977 film THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE. Beyond which, Haynes widely acknowledged both this precedent, and that of Solondz’s film, in interviews while promoting I’M NOT THERE.
The novelty of Haynes’ film is that he uses this technique in the context of a biography, rather than a work of fiction. But just because someone has used an aesthetic device once, twice, or ten times before doesn’t mean it can’t—or shouldn’t—be used again. Novelty and originality are overrated (and lazy) evaluative criteria where films, books, plays are concerned anyway. Something can just as easily be unoriginal and good as it can be original and bad.
Got a film question? Email email@example.com