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Todd Solondz, Filmmaker

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Todd Solondz, known for his quirky and disturbing films Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness and Storytelling, sat down with our sister site, Gothamist, on the occasion of his latest cinematic foray, Palindromes, which stars Ellen Barkin, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Stephen Adly-Guirgis, and is in theaters today.

Your new film Palindromes -- it's impossible to ignore the abortion-related plotline. Are you trying to make a political statement?

It is true that the movie is perhaps my most politically-charged. The story is thrust into motion by the idea of what do you do when your 13 year old daughter comes home pregnant. And not only is she pregnant, but she wants to keep the baby. It's kind of an impossible dilemma. For many a lose-lose proposition. The movie is not dogmatic. It's not out to advocate a position pro-choice or pro-life for that matter. But rather to explore some of the moral dimension of what it means to take on certain kinds of convictions. Trying to force the audience in some sense to re-assess, re-evaluate some of the pre-conceptions and myths that we live with.

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Do you have a particular stance on the issue?
I don't like telling people where I stand on this, although I'm surprised anybody wonders. I suppose if I say I'm pro-choice, if I make that clear, it let's the audience off the hook, then they can sort of relax. Okay, it's alright he's pro-choice then I can enjoy this. But I don't want them to relax, I'd rather not have any sort of complacency. That's what this movie is out to poke at. Additionally, if I say I'm pro-choice, no one that's pro-life will come to see the movie.

Has the film elicited any reactions from pro-choice or right-to-life groups?
Not from any organizations. I don't even know that it's shown up on their radar. I know some Christian websites are not too fond of this, but then there are some evangelicals that I have spoken with that were very taken with it. It walks a fine line.

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