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Hal Hartley

Mark L. Berrettini

Publication Year: 2011

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. The volume concludes with a pair of in-depth interviews with the director from two distinct points in his career. _x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Contemporary Film Directors


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Title Page, Copyright, Frontispiece

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pp. i-vii


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p. ix

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pp. xi-xii

My thanks to James Naremore, Joan Catapano, the anonymous readers, and the staff of the University of Illinois Press for their guidance at all stages of this project. Thanks to Hal Hartley, Moritz Wessendorff, Josh Yumibe, John Esther, Dan Short, Susan Gerhard, Ron Magliozzi, Pilar Mayora, Sanam Madjedi, the staff of the Kobal Collection, and...

Efficiency, Estrangement, and Antirealism: The Films of Hal Hartley

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pp. 1-6

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 hyperefficient...

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pp. 5-8

This biographical sketch draws upon material that is included in interviews, reviews, and essays about Hartley’s work, and in an earlier version of his official Web site, possiblefilms.com, when it included portions of interviews that were published later as Hartley and Kaleta’s True Fiction Pictures and Possible Films, as Kino prawdziwej fikcji i filmy potencjalne...

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Families and Bombs: The Long Island Films

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pp. 8-34

Hartley gradually amplified his experiments with cinematic style and narrative with The Unbelievable Truth, Trust, and Simple Men, the socalled Long Island Trilogy. Each film includes bombs as plot devices and enmeshes the protagonists within unusual romantic couplings and familial conflicts as they attempt to define themselves within and against...

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Obscenity and Espionage; or, "The Long Island Era Is Done"

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pp. 34-57

Amateur’s narrative action moves from Long Island to New York City, marking the beginning of Hartley’s sustained foray into locations beyond his home. In 1992, Hartley told Fuller, “The Long Island era is done. I started to make films in Long Island because that was the only place I could make films” (Fuller, “Finding the Essential,” xxvi; some of his...

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The Apocalypse, Digitized

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pp. 57-70

The Book of Life is the U.S. entry into the multi-film 2000 Seen By series about the new millennium (see Durbin). Hartley’s innovative variation on Christian conceptions of the Apocalypse and the Second Coming of Jesus provide the template for the film, with Jesus (Martin Donovan) returned to earth to judge the living and the dead at the end of the world. Like so...

Interviews with Hal Hartley

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pp. 71-94


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pp. 95-107


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pp. 109-117


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pp. 119-122

Further Reading, About the Author, Publication Information

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pp. 123-124

E-ISBN-13: 9780252093036
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252035951

Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Contemporary Film Directors
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OCLC Number: 707960913
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hal Hartley

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Subject Headings

  • Hartley, Hal, 1959- -- Criticism and interpretation.
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