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Hal Hartley

Hal Hartley

Mark L. Berrettini
Hal Hartley
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 136
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  • Book Info
    Hal Hartley
    Book Description:

    Since the late 1980s, Hal Hartley has challenged standards of realist narrative cinema with daring narrative constructions, character development, and the creation of an unconventional visual world. In this pioneering critical overview of his work and its cultural-historical context, Mark L. Berrettini discusses seven of Hartley's feature films, including The Unbelievable Truth, Trust, Simple Men, Amateur, Henry Fool, Fay Grim, and The Book of Life._x000B__x000B_Drawing on journalism, theories of representation, narrative and genre, and cinema history, Berrettini discusses the absurdist-comedic representation of serious themes in Hartley's films: impossible love, coincidence and human relations, extreme isolation, and the restrictions posed by gender norms. He looks at the films' consistently absurd tone and notes how these themes reappear within framing narratives that shift from the seemingly mundane in Hartley's earliest works to the vibrantly creative and fantastic in his later films. Employing close analysis and theories related to cinematic narrative and to realism, the book's critical appraisal of Hartley's films considers aspects of American independent cinema and postwar European cinema, antirealism, and minimalism. The volume concludes with a pair of in-depth interviews with the director from two distinct points in his career.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09303-6
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Efficiency, Estrangement, and Antirealism The Films of Hal Hartley
    (pp. 1-70)

    Since the early 1980s, Hal Hartley has written, directed, and produced more than twenty short and feature-length films, several music videos, dramatic work for the stage, and operatic collaborations. Along with his unconventionally romantic plots and his deadpan, absurdist-comedic approach, a compelling thread within Hartley’s oeuvre is his hyper-efficient depiction of narratives about transformation and actual and figurative escape. From attempts to escape one’s past and familial and social expectations inThe Unbelievable Truth(1989) to the global tumult and the reevaluation of established identities inFay Grim(2006), Hartley’s characters are in flux. They want to change their lives...

  5. Interviews with Hal Hartley
    (pp. 71-94)

    Interview by Justin Wyatt, 1997. Originally published inFilm Quarterly,Vol. 52, Number 1, Fall 1998 (University of California Press).

    JUSTIN WYATT: While all of your films alternate between comic and serious moments, the tone seems to have become much darker withHenry Fool.

    HAL HARTLEY: The tone may be a little more serious, but I don’t really think thatHenry Foolis a movie that posits a dark view of the world. I think that it offers an enormous amount of forgiveness and a lot of room for people who are different. In order to render that feeling, I...

  6. Filmography
    (pp. 95-108)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 109-118)
  8. Index
    (pp. 119-122)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 123-124)