| Culture |

Miami-Set Life During Wartime Takes Venice Film Festival by Storm

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.


On paper, unsettling auteur Todd Solondz's latest flick, Life During Wartime, is a bizarre proposition. It's a sequel, of sorts, to his 1999 calling card, Happiness, with characters from his breakout film, Welcome to the Dollhouse, thrown in. Except every role is recast or, in some cases, re-imagined: Philip Seymour Hoffman's pale and schlubby character Allen from Happiness is reprised here by The Wire's decidedly less pale and schlubby Michael K. Williams. It's also Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reuben's first major film role since 2001's Blow

On paper, though, it turned out to be the best film at last week's Venice International Film Festival, winning the award for best screenplay and coming out of the fest with more buzz than any other English-language film. 

While most of Solondz's previous work is set in his native New Jersey, Wartime unfolds in Miami, specifically the Jewish community. But the film was shot entirely in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

"The fact that the production was largely filmed in Puerto Rico will likely amaze even native Floridians, so seamless is the match," notes the Hollywood Reporter.

"Miami kitsch is tastefully spoofed in Roshelle Berliner's pastel sets, an apt backdrop for Ed Lachman's balanced camerawork," says Variety.

But more important, the flick is supposed to be devastatingly funny -- like a dark Woody Allen, if he addressed topics such as pedophilia and Israel instead of setting some of his more memorable films around a Jewish guy chasing barely legal girls.

Hunter Stephenson of /Film (who, by the by, used to edit my words and everything else at Ignore Magazine, in case you're wondering what happened to that) is thourougly excited and points us to the short making-of clip above.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.