Special Screenings: Todd Solondz’s Palindromes and Jonathan Demme’s The Agronomist

Apr 6–7, 2005

MoMA

Palindromes. 2004. USA. Written and directed by Todd Solondz. Image courtesy of Photofest

Palindromes. 2004. USA. Written and directed by Todd Solondz. With Ellen Barkin, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Jennifer Jason Leigh. Like the grimmest of fairy tales, Palindromes is a comic grotesque. Shorn of her innocence, a girl leaves home an exile and loses her way in a world where adult treacheries abound and protector becomes predator. The rites of passage explored in Solondz’s earlier films Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) and Storytelling (2001) are further complicated in Palindromes by the girl’s magical, almost chameleonic transformations from white to black, fat to thin, young to middle-aged, even girl to boy (she is brilliantly played by eight actors). In Palindromes, Solondz transcends his well-established capacity to provoke by showing deeper reservoirs of discernment and compassion. 100 min.
Wednesday, April 6, 8:00. (Introduced by Todd Solondz, Ellen Barkin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Matthew Faber, followed by a discussion.) T1

The Agronomist. 2003. USA/Haiti. Directed by Jonathan Demme. Formerly an agronomist in Haiti, Jean Dominique became a journalist and principal at Radio Haiti to reach out to an exploited population that did not read. For his social activism, he was murdered on April 3, 2000. Demme interviewed Dominique and his wife Michele Montas many times between their exile in New York in 1980 and Dominique’s assassination. The Agronomist is a vivid portrait of an impassioned hero. Presented in association with the United Nations Association of New York and Fairleigh Dickinson University. 90 min. Introduced by Demme, followed by a discussion.
Thursday, April 7, 8:00. T1

Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, and Joshua Siegel, Assistant Curator, Department of Film and Media.

Special thanks to Wellspring, which will be releasing Palindromes theatrically on April 13, and THINKFilm for the loan of The Agronomist.

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