Last night at the BAMcinemaFest the audience was treated to a night of laughs at the centerpiece screening of IFC’s Wiener Dog.
Wiener-Dog is the latest film of indie crowd pleaser Todd Solondz and features four stories connected by the small doxen for which the film is named. One of the major characters, Dawn Wiener played by Greta Gerwig, is a role Solondz has written into previous films. “Ever since I’d made Palindromes and the character of Dawn Wiener had died in that I’d wanted to create a counter narrative in which she has a much more hopeful, romantic future. And so this seemed like a good opportunity.” This counter narrative comes in the second act of Wiener Dog where Dawn embarks on a journey with Brandon (Kieran Culkin) and has the most overtly positive ending of the four stories.
The film features a cast that exhibits the range of the human lifespan, from fifth grader Keaton Nigel Cooke as Remi to the veteran actress Ellen Burstyn as Nana. Keaton Nigel Cooke was in attendance, walking the red carpet and expressing his joy to be part of such an interesting project. “I had to take off one week of school,” he said with glee about filming his first major motion picture. While Cooke said he had fun shooting with the dogs on set (He has his own at home; “Nessie Girl, she’s a Westie.”) Solondz revealed in the post film Q&A that working with the doxens was not the best experience, saying that one even bit Cooke!
Also seen on the red carpet were famous fans of the writer-director, including Girls star Alex Karpovsky. When asked about what filmmakers inspire his own filmmaking he replied, “This guy I think is pretty amazing,” motioning to the poster for Wiener Dog propped up behind him. “I think he’s doing a lot of weird, interesting stuff.”
By the end of the screening, everyone in attendance, including star Ellen Burstyn, was willing to admit Solondz’s film was definitely weird, but the overwhelming consensus fell in line with Karpovsky opinion of amazement, measured by the roar of applause when Solondz took his seat at the Q&A. Fans were eager to ask Solondz questions about his peculiar brand of comedy, and almost every question started with “I loved the film” or “I haven’t laughed so hard in a while.” Solondz’s take on life and death may not be every person’s cup of tea, but those at BAMcinemaFest certainly fell for the film and the odd filmmaker they came out to see.
Following the screening guests headed over to Berlyn for cocktails and canapes.