can we talk about hal hartley?

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just for a minute? i'm watching simple men right now. it is making everything right that was previously wrong in my world. i think i'm going to watch surviving desire next, then walk sideways down the street snapping my fingers in tribute.
seriously, i forgot how amazing this movie is and perhaps how amazing hartley is. if i want to continue my binge over the weekend, is renting no such thing a good idea? i became a bit disenchanted after i finally rented flirt, so i'm approaching with caution.

lauren (laurenp), Thursday, 31 July 2003 20:28 (eighteen years ago) link

Is Hal Hartley the original Green Lantern?

Leee (Leee), Thursday, 31 July 2003 22:31 (eighteen years ago) link

OK, Hal Hartley:
Simple Men is definitely his best, I think. Or maybe I just saw it when I was young and impressionable (being 17 was the best). His ones before that are also very good: Trust, the Unbeleivable Truth, and the one-hour Surviving Desire is as well. Here is a link to the screenplays for SM and Trust, if you're into that kind of thing; I read these back when I was 17.

After SM, I was really disappointed with Amateur and Flirt - he seemed to be casting around for something to say and fooling with the style too much. There is one classic moment in that movie though, in the bathroom of the bar, near the beginning of the film I think. And in 1998 or 99, Henry Fool came out, which was a nice return to SM form.

Hal Hartley and music: From his earliest days he's had a taste for incorporating some pretty good music into his films, stuff that he had written himself as well as by Yo La Tengo and others. Here is the CD (again, I got when I was 17) of the collected short instrumentals used for segues and the like as well as some originals by YLT, etc. :

Haven't heard much from him lately but I supposed a simple web search can rectify that.


LA75 (LA75), Saturday, 2 August 2003 13:18 (eighteen years ago) link

when I saw Amateur I thought "This Hal Hartley guy is great. I must watch every film of his that comes out".

I have never seen another film by Hal Hartley.

DV (dirtyvicar), Sunday, 3 August 2003 22:29 (eighteen years ago) link

thanks for the detailed reply, mr. LA75. i, too, was a bit disappointed with amateur, at least at first. it really grew on me with subsequent viewings.
i think i was a bit unclear in my initial post. basically, i was asking in my rambling, semi-coherent way if no such thing (his most recent) is any good. so, i will do now what i should have done on thursday and just ask outright what y'all might think of it.

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 4 August 2003 04:58 (eighteen years ago) link

the last feature length film he did was horrible. it was called "no such thing" and i really think it had no redeeming features whatsoever.

'simple men' would be perfect if you cut out the obvious gen-x sonic youth dancing scene and maybe that part where the mechanic riffs on electric guitar.

j fail (cenotaph), Monday, 4 August 2003 18:19 (eighteen years ago) link

Henry Fool is my favorite film of his; Epic, intimate, scary and funny all at once.

I don't quite understand the critical beating No Such Thing recieved. It featured some of Hartley's lovliest images. The monlogue delivered by Robert Burke's monster late in the film in which he articulates the misery of being immortal and having to watch the miraculous evolution (and eventual devolution) of the human race was interesting.

theodore fogelsanger, Monday, 4 August 2003 21:41 (eighteen years ago) link

gotta be the title

s1utsky (slutsky), Monday, 4 August 2003 23:56 (eighteen years ago) link

I have to second Henry Fool, one of my all-time favorites. I liked No Such Thing, too, though it was considerably patchier, compared to HF. I remember the music for NST really made it for me, which is something that very rarely happens.

Prude (Prude), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 01:35 (eighteen years ago) link

Hartley's production company (his new one) is called Possible Films and their web site is Not much info about his next project, called "NOVA," but lots of info about his old films. I saw him speak at a retro in Cambridge, MA a few years ago. He is charming and witty as you might expect.

amateurist (amateurist), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 03:57 (eighteen years ago) link

About ten years ago, Hal Hartley was one of my favorite filmmakers (that would be around the time of Amateur's release). At that time, Trust was (and still is) my favorite with Simple Men, Amateur and Surviving Desire behind that. His recent work has left me cold. Flirt is a failed experiment, and Henry Fool is completely forgettable. No Such Thing is one of the worst films I have ever seen by a director that I previously admired.

Part of the problem that I have with Hartley is that when I first stumbled on his films, I didn't really have as wide a knowledge of film history as I do now. I think it's harder to appreciate Hartley when you see how transparently he rips off early Godard. Also his "romanticism" (if you can call it that since it's fairly stilted) strikes me now as infantile.

jacobo, Thursday, 7 August 2003 20:10 (eighteen years ago) link

He "rips off" Bresson and Ozu and Lang and Malick and Eisenstein and Cassavetes and Dreyer too! I don't see the Godard influence as overweening.

What do you mean by romanticism? What's an example? (I *think* I know what you mean.)

amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 7 August 2003 20:51 (eighteen years ago) link

I think Simple Men was his peak. Or at least that's the last film of his that I thought totally succeeded, in it's own stilted, elliptical way. I haven't seen it in years, but I can tell you this, "There is no adventure, there is no romance--there is only trouble and desire."

Lee G (Lee G), Monday, 18 August 2003 16:26 (eighteen years ago) link

Henry Fool has some great lines in it.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Monday, 18 August 2003 16:35 (eighteen years ago) link

That line's a paraphrase from Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler.

amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 18 August 2003 17:55 (eighteen years ago) link

I did not know that.

Lee G (Lee G), Monday, 18 August 2003 21:26 (eighteen years ago) link

"when I saw Amateur I thought "This Hal Hartley guy is great. I must watch every film of his that comes out".
I have never seen another film by Hal Hartley."

Man, that is the same with me. I saw 'Amateur' at a movie series, rented it once to show to someone else and watched it a while back on the IFC. It is quite a funny movie. I really like the 'corporate' hitmen.

earlnash, Tuesday, 19 August 2003 17:06 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...
I don't understand how Lauren posted the thread in the first place. Did she pause the film to go on ilx and post about it, then start it again? Or did she run to the computer and post that long opening spiel while the film was running, possibly missing some of the dialogue that she considered so amazingly life-affirming?

Things get even worse if we suppose that she did not have the internet at home, and had to go out to a cybercafe, library or similar outlet, while leaving the film running. She could have missed loads of it!

I am not sure that I have seen any of HH's films apart from Henry Fool, which was abysmal.

the flickfox, Sunday, 21 August 2005 09:10 (sixteen years ago) link

I kiss you for thinking Henry Fool was abysmal. I couldn't get through it.

I liked The Book Of Life well enough, especially the soundtrack, but I wouldn't want to watch it again. And the Yo La Tengo video he did was rather nice.

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 22 August 2005 00:29 (sixteen years ago) link

Henry Fool was great but the last 30 minutes coulda been lopped off.

The best Hartley is and always will be Trust, which is one of my favorite films.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Monday, 22 August 2005 00:33 (sixteen years ago) link

I think I'm starting to identify the specific tendencies that the pinefox dislikes in many modern independent films.

Adam In Real Life (nordicskilla), Thursday, 25 August 2005 18:36 (sixteen years ago) link

Thank you.

the bellefox, Wednesday, 31 August 2005 16:58 (sixteen years ago) link

three months pass...
I saw Flirt the other night!

Anyone like it?

the bellefox, Wednesday, 30 November 2005 14:02 (sixteen years ago) link

Flirt's the same story told three different times in three different places, right? Yeah that's probably my favorite Hartley (maybe Trust.)

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Thursday, 1 December 2005 00:02 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Handful of announcements on the HH site.

Hal's next movie is Fay Grim, a sequel to Henry Fool. The Girl from Monday is available for DVD pre-order, only $12.95 (plus s&h and tax if you're in California). General DVD sale happening, too. Plus, the lucky Aussies get Trust on DVD.

I'm going to have to get an all-region player.

scamperingalpaca (Chris Hill), Thursday, 15 December 2005 15:28 (sixteen years ago) link

i saw girl from monday on tour. it was cute and pretty, but it rilly highlighted for me the total ineptness of hal hartley in dealing with female characters. i think i asked him a question about the music he composed and he gave some very fascinating answer about how he discovered polyphony like last year and it changed him or such.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 16 December 2005 08:01 (sixteen years ago) link

The Girl From Monday was pretty weak IMO.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Friday, 16 December 2005 21:32 (sixteen years ago) link

it thankfully was nowhere near the crude politico-satire it was billed as, however. more like that was all backdrop to the real story, which was about ppl. being fucked up and stuff. hartley gets irritating when he does high-concept in general tho. i mean.. Flirt.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Saturday, 17 December 2005 08:39 (sixteen years ago) link

In Soviet Russia, Hal Hartley talks about YOU!

Yakov Smirnoff, Saturday, 17 December 2005 13:52 (sixteen years ago) link

ten months pass...
R.I.P Adrienne Shelly

so sad :(,,1942286,00.html

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 8 November 2006 14:03 (fifteen years ago) link

meant to post this on ILE

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 8 November 2006 14:14 (fifteen years ago) link

In brighter news, a sequel to Henry Fool is in the works, strangely enough.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Wednesday, 8 November 2006 18:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh, no!

the pinefox (the pinefox), Thursday, 9 November 2006 12:21 (fifteen years ago) link

I believe s1ocki saw, and hated. Stars Parker Posey.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 10 November 2006 17:30 (fifteen years ago) link

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