Monday, December 19, 2011

The Unbelievable Truth

Adrienne Shelly is a depressed teenager waiting for the end of the world, Robert Burke is a mechanic with a history. Also starring Edie Falco from before The Sopranos, written and directed by Hal Hartley.

Hartley's debut film has the Hartley touch right from the beginning. No establishing shots and quirky dialogues. A small universe where the same people keep bumping into each other. Can you have faith in other people? People are only as good as the deals they make and keep. Hartley namedrops some of his heroes here: Molière and Victor Hugo. I believe the words ozone layer is mentioned in all of Hartley's three first films. It's the ozone layer triology? Why did Adrienne Shelly die so young and Paris Hilton is still alive, that's what I want to know. Hartley is an unfortunate name, because you can't say that Robert Burke is playing the typical Hartleyian hero. Or can you?

The quality of my dvd is pretty bad. The image is too bright. Strangely, some sequences from the film is repeated in the bonus Hartley interview, and there they look much better. Bit of a bummer.

8 comments:

  1. Such a tragedy, Adrienne Shelly's death.

    It already broke my heart when she stopped appearing on Hartley's films. I still think Trust is the perfect Hartley film. Donovan and Shelly. Like Grant and Hepburn.

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  2. Trust is probably my favourite Hartley film, as well. I see on IMDB he's got a new film, Meanwhile, out next year.

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  3. Hartley has recently run a Kickstarter campaign for Meanwhile - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/260302407/meanwhile. First time I've taken part in a Kickstarter program but Hartley is one of favourite artists so I felt support was due. The Unbelievable Truth is a perfect film. I love it.

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  4. Hartley could make odd things cool and sexy, like a thesaurus, a floppy disk or a iambic pentameter.
    They say in Hollywood you're as good as your last film. Isn't that even more true of indie films? It only took No Such Thing to ruin his career...

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  6. His biggest hit was Henry Fool, that came after No Such thing, but yes, the American indie film movement from the 90s seems to have died down a bit. Even John Sayles has trouble financing his films.

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  7. Henry Fool (1997) was actually before No Such Thing (2001). I read something which detailed the issues he had with No Such Thing which was made through a studio. Coppola had something to do with it too. Vague, I know, but it's true that it seemed to push him into the margins. I watched it again recently and quite enjoyed it. Robert Burke is hilarious. Hartley definitely seems to have moved away from the "early funny ones" too though.

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  8. Ah, yes, my mistake. Henry Fool came first. No Such Thing was followed by The Girl From Monday in 05, that also got mostly bad reviews.

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