Eleven-year-old Dawn “Weinerdog” Wiener is a junior-high geek who just wants to be popular. Teased by her classmates and tormented by the school bully, she develops an improbable plan to seduce the star of a high-school garage band. Todd Solondz’s celebrated black comedy follows Dawn through the many dark corners of suburban youth. Bitterly funny and true to life, the film launched Solondz’s career, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and is now hailed as a classic of modern independent cinema.
Night and Fog
Alain Resnais, France, 1955, 35mm, 32m
French with English subtitles
Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, French filmmaker Alain Resnais documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz in his harrowing documentary. One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Night and Fog contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ quiet, empty buildings with wartime footage. Using a combination of archival materials from past and present, in color and black and white, Resnais investigates the cyclical nature of humanity’s violence and presents the unsettling suggestion that such atrocities could happen again.
On selecting Night and Fog, Todd Solondz writes: “I saw Night and Fog in college and it stuck with me as a touchstone for speaking of the unspeakable, evoking the unevocable, memorializing without pomp. I can’t say it ‘inspired’ me, but it’s always stood as a kind of monument: What is worth our time and attention? What matters? Who are we?”