Todd Solondz is one the most distinct filmmakers we have working today. Like watching one minute of a random movie by either Neil Labute or David Fincher without warning, you know it is by Solondz when you see one of his. My high anticipation for his new film Life During Wartime (2010), which premiered last year at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festive), is matched by seeing what its movie poster will look like — and for good reason. Over Solondz’s career from Welcome to the Dollhouse (1996) to Palindromes (2004), the posters of his films have been consistently inspired and in tune with each other. Their designs and illustrations(!) convey the sweet and sour qualities of his controversial themes, which engage and then subvert our expectations. Whether it is Solondz’s direct influence or just what each different advertising company happens to come up with when facing his material, the results in style are remarkably alike.
Illustrated movie posters have been a dying breed for the past quarter of a century. Most of Todd Solondz’s films have kept that art on the respirator starting with Daniel Clowes’ take on Happiness (1998) and then what Kathryn Rathke ran with in Palindromes (2004). Life During Wartime (2010) continues down that illustration path – it’s very appropriate since Life is the sequel to Solondz’s Happiness – but not before some photographed design comps were made. Before unveiling the illustrated version, I will take you through how it evolved starting with the international poster made for the film.
LIFE DURING WARTIME (2010) International Poster