The Films of Hal Hartley

Series Co-presented by FANDOR

 

In Hal Hartley’s poetic reality, every spoken word is precisely placed and loaded with meaning and wit. Characters are rich and exciting, and the feeling is that every aspect onscreen is a meticulous author’s idiosyncratic indulgence, from his taut dialogue to his strictly staged visual storytelling.  Hartley’s distinctive work dominated ‘90s American indie filmmaking, and offered breakthrough roles to such invaluable talents as Parker Posey, Edie Falco, Adrienne Shelly and Martin Donovan.  Over the years, his scope rightly expanded to television, digital video and shorts, but he’s recently returned to the feature-film spotlight with Ned Rifle, his first film in eight years and the third installment in his “Henry Fool trilogy,” following the same characters over a period of 18 years.

 

In tribute to one of the truly great indie auteurs, this first-ever West Coast retrospective includes eight of Hartley’s cracking gems, plus a career-spanning exhibition of rare artifacts, and Skink Ink Gallery’s “Still Lives ”series of limited edition prints.  As well, each screening in the opening weekend includes an introduction and Q&A by the man himself, with appearances by Aubrey Plaza, James Urbaniak and other surprise guests!

 

BUY TICKETS ($12/free for members. Showtimes subject to change):
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HENRY FOOL (1997) & FAY GRIM (2009): Thursday, April 2nd: 7:30pm (Hal Hartley in person!)
AN EVENING WITH HAL HARTLEY (FEAT. “NED RIFLE (2014)”): Friday, April 3rd: 8:00pm (plus Aubrey Plaza and James Urbaniak in person!)
TRUST (1990) & THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH (1989): Saturday, April 4th: 7:00pm (Hal Hartley in person!)
TRUST (1990): Tuesday, April 7th: 9:50pm
TRUST (1990): Wednesday, April 8th: 9:50pm
THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH (1989): Thursday, April 9th: 9:50pm
SURVIVING DESIRE (1992): Saturday, April 11th: 4:15pm
SIMPLE MEN (1992): Saturday, April 18th: 3:30pm
THE BOOK OF LIFE (1989): Saturday, April 25th: 4:00pm

 

ADDITIONAL NED RIFLE SHOWTIMES
Sunday, April 5th: 5:00pm
Monday, April 6th: 10:30pm
Tuesday, April 7th: 7:30pm
Wednesday, April 8th: 7:30pm
Thursday, April 9th: 7:30pm

 

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “The Films of Hal Hartley”!

 

The Book of Life

bookoflife_website
4/25/2015 - 4PM

With eternal rock legend P.J. Harvey as his muse — playing the often silent but contemplating (Mary) Magdalene, who could potentially be God herself — Jesus finds that humans may not be so bad after all. The Book of Life opens with Hal Hartley’s main man Martin Donovan, this time characterized as the Messiah, who, reluctantly returning to Earth on the eve of the Millennium, must bring about the Apocalypse. Donovan is suave and edgy as always, here ranting whilst clean-shaven, blue-eyed and decked out in a smart suit. Released in 1998, practically on the eve of “Y2K”, Hartley’s shot-on-video visions are bolstered by a hypnotic shoegaze/grunge/dubstep soundtrack, and an appearance by Yo La Tengo as an off-kilter Salvation Army band. With one liners like “…wham, you’re addicted to human beings,” and “the potential for synthetically fabricated organic diseases,” this Hartley jam requires your utmost attention.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 1998, digital presentation, 63 min.

Watch PJ Harvey’s “The Faster I Breathe The Further I Go” from “The Book of Life”!
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Simple Men

simplemen_website
4/18/2015 - 3:30PM

If you’re a fan of angry young men with a mind for motorcycles, anarchy, arson and the moves to match Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing”, this one’s for you. Hal Hartley describes Simple Men, his third feature and international breakthrough, as “…a romance with an attitude problem.” Two brothers, one a sensitive intellectual and the other a jackass computer thief recently betrayed by his girlfriend, go on a road trip to search for their father: a famous shortstop turned underground ‘60s radical in hiding after a prison escape. This highly amusing, handsomely filmed ‘90s slice of absurdist life captures a bygone era when the rent in Long Island was low enough for Simple Men like these to actually exist. Oh, and there are nuns, lots of nuns — and Catholic school girls, who do what Catholic school girls generally do.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 1992, 35mm, 105 min.

Watch the “Kool Thing” dance from “Simple Men”!
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Surviving Desire

survivingdesire_website
4/11/2015 - 4:15PM

Ahhh, if only people really spoke this way, casually weaving philosophy and unmasked declarations of intent with poetic asides about laundry detergent. If you’ve ever wished more movies were built around passages from Dostoyevsky, this one’s your jam. Clocking in at a cool 53 minutes, Hal Hartley’s absurdist graph of dysfunctional love circa 1993 maps a tryst, from the classroom to the bookstore, to the bedroom and then back to the classroom, and finally down into the gutter, between a burnt-out college English professor (Hartley’s longtime male muse Martin Donovan) and his favorite student (Mary B. Ward). She writes her fantasies and accusations into a short story about her self-hating egotist lover, but is she really just writing about herself? Is ignorance the necessary condition of human happiness? Is it wrong to physically harm students because they don’t like the Classics? In this dryly funny, willfully surreal ode to heartbreak, the answers — if there are any — lie in the questions themselves.
The afternoon’s program also includes the 1991 Hal Hartley shorts Ambition and Theory of Achievement!
Dir. Hal Hartley, 1992, digital presentation, 53 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Surviving Desire”!
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The Unbelievable Truth (4/9)

unbelievabletruth_website
4/9/2015 - 9:50PM

Hartley’s defining trademarks — colorful, oddball characters, stylish camerawork and arch expressions of middle-class angst — drive this career-making deadpan farce, shot on an 11-day shoestring in Hartley’s hometown of Long Island, and nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Unforgettable muse Adrienne Shelly debuts as a bright but apocalyptic teenager who rejects an invitation to Harvard and her nascent-yuppie boyfriend, to become obsessed with a handsome, enigmatic, celibacy-professing man in black: Josh (Robert John Burke), a brilliant auto mechanic just released from prison for murder, and hired to work at her father’s garage. No one in town can remember exactly what happened or how many people Josh killed, but rumors (and her father’s consternation) escalate as she and Josh find themselves increasingly attracted to each other and unsure what to do about it. This darkly comic, affectionate satire on the shortcomings of suburban living won the hearts of an emerging swell of disenchanted cool kids as well as the most jaded critics, with comparisons to Douglas Sirk, Rashomon, Sartre, and even Liz Smith.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 1989, digital presentation, 90 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Unbelievable Truth”!
YouTube Preview Image

Ned Rifle (4/9)

nedrifle_website3
4/9/2015 - 7:30PM

Kickstarter-funded and cast from Hartley’s career-spanning pool of favorites, this is true independent cinema, tailor-made on a level that big studio flicks could never match. The story beginning with Henry Fool (starring Thomas Jay Ryan) and continuing with Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey) concludes with the two namesakes’ son (Liam Aiken) in the driver’s seat, a soft-spoken teenaged holy warrior on a totally un-ironic mission to kill his father, who may or may not be an extremely well-educated agent of Satan. Along for the ride is Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, who, in line with Hartley’s ongoing vision, beautifully plays up an unsettling ability to deliver a line with total sincerity, laced with arsenic sarcasm. For a revenge flick, there’s a lot of dialogue dedicated to a sexually-charged doctoral thesis and a poet laureate’s forays into comedy vlogging — all what we’ve come to expect from Hartley’s ever-evolving oeuvre. Plus, the wanton hedonism implied in a simple scene of grocery shopping on a stolen credit card perfectly summarizes Hartley’s eloquence in the art of understatement.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 2014, DCP, 85 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ned Rifle”!
YouTube Preview Image

Trust (4/8)

trust_website
4/8/2015 - 9:50PM

Would you describe yourself as both high-minded and hopelessly childish? Indignant, yet lethargic? Not apathetic, but withdrawn in disgust and wishing you could sucker punch every asshole you meet or lock the door and read Tolstoy until the ozone burns off and humanity finally toasts itself? If so, you might be a Hal Hartley character. The two star-crossed young rejects in Trust fit the bill, suffering so stylishly you almost forget she accidentally killed her dad and he carries a grenade around in his jacket “just in case.” Every withering deadpan comeback, heartfelt guitar line, absurdist lyrical flourish and photographic étude of color and geometry feels precision-tuned and laser-guided, thanks to Hartley’s obsessive command of the form. Firmly rooted in its ‘90s Gen-Xer scene, yet totally fresh today thanks to its singular rhythms, this one’s an anthem for all you slackers and drop-outs.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 1990, digital presentation, 107 min.

Watch the trailer for “Trust”!
YouTube Preview Image

Ned Rifle (4/8)

nedrifle_website2
4/8/2015 - 7:30PM

Kickstarter-funded and cast from Hartley’s career-spanning pool of favorites, this is true independent cinema, tailor-made on a level that big studio flicks could never match. The story beginning with Henry Fool (starring Thomas Jay Ryan) and continuing with Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey) concludes with the two namesakes’ son (Liam Aiken) in the driver’s seat, a soft-spoken teenaged holy warrior on a totally un-ironic mission to kill his father, who may or may not be an extremely well-educated agent of Satan. Along for the ride is Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, who, in line with Hartley’s ongoing vision, beautifully plays up an unsettling ability to deliver a line with total sincerity, laced with arsenic sarcasm. For a revenge flick, there’s a lot of dialogue dedicated to a sexually-charged doctoral thesis and a poet laureate’s forays into comedy vlogging — all what we’ve come to expect from Hartley’s ever-evolving oeuvre. Plus, the wanton hedonism implied in a simple scene of grocery shopping on a stolen credit card perfectly summarizes Hartley’s eloquence in the art of understatement.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 2014, DCP, 85 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ned Rifle”!
YouTube Preview Image

Trust (4/7)

trust_website
4/7/2015 - 9:50PM

Would you describe yourself as both high-minded and hopelessly childish? Indignant, yet lethargic? Not apathetic, but withdrawn in disgust and wishing you could sucker punch every asshole you meet or lock the door and read Tolstoy until the ozone burns off and humanity finally toasts itself? If so, you might be a Hal Hartley character. The two star-crossed young rejects in Trust fit the bill, suffering so stylishly you almost forget she accidentally killed her dad and he carries a grenade around in his jacket “just in case.” Every withering deadpan comeback, heartfelt guitar line, absurdist lyrical flourish and photographic étude of color and geometry feels precision-tuned and laser-guided, thanks to Hartley’s obsessive command of the form. Firmly rooted in its ‘90s Gen-Xer scene, yet totally fresh today thanks to its singular rhythms, this one’s an anthem for all you slackers and drop-outs.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 1990, digital presentation, 107 min.

Watch the trailer for “Trust”!
YouTube Preview Image

Ned Rifle (4/7)

nedrifle_website
4/7/2015 - 7:30PM

Kickstarter-funded and cast from Hartley’s career-spanning pool of favorites, this is true independent cinema, tailor-made on a level that big studio flicks could never match. The story beginning with Henry Fool (starring Thomas Jay Ryan) and continuing with Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey) concludes with the two namesakes’ son (Liam Aiken) in the driver’s seat, a soft-spoken teenaged holy warrior on a totally un-ironic mission to kill his father, who may or may not be an extremely well-educated agent of Satan. Along for the ride is Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, who, in line with Hartley’s ongoing vision, beautifully plays up an unsettling ability to deliver a line with total sincerity, laced with arsenic sarcasm. For a revenge flick, there’s a lot of dialogue dedicated to a sexually-charged doctoral thesis and a poet laureate’s forays into comedy vlogging — all what we’ve come to expect from Hartley’s ever-evolving oeuvre. Plus, the wanton hedonism implied in a simple scene of grocery shopping on a stolen credit card perfectly summarizes Hartley’s eloquence in the art of understatement.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 2014, DCP, 85 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ned Rifle”!
YouTube Preview Image

Ned Rifle (4/6)

nedrifle_website3
4/6/2015 - 10:30PM

Kickstarter-funded and cast from Hartley’s career-spanning pool of favorites, this is true independent cinema, tailor-made on a level that big studio flicks could never match. The story beginning with Henry Fool (starring Thomas Jay Ryan) and continuing with Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey) concludes with the two namesakes’ son (Liam Aiken) in the driver’s seat, a soft-spoken teenaged holy warrior on a totally un-ironic mission to kill his father, who may or may not be an extremely well-educated agent of Satan. Along for the ride is Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, who, in line with Hartley’s ongoing vision, beautifully plays up an unsettling ability to deliver a line with total sincerity, laced with arsenic sarcasm. For a revenge flick, there’s a lot of dialogue dedicated to a sexually-charged doctoral thesis and a poet laureate’s forays into comedy vlogging — all what we’ve come to expect from Hartley’s ever-evolving oeuvre. Plus, the wanton hedonism implied in a simple scene of grocery shopping on a stolen credit card perfectly summarizes Hartley’s eloquence in the art of understatement.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 2014, DCP, 85 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ned Rifle”!
YouTube Preview Image

Ned Rifle (4/5)

nedrifle_website2
4/5/2015 - 5PM

Kickstarter-funded and cast from Hartley’s career-spanning pool of favorites, this is true independent cinema, tailor-made on a level that big studio flicks could never match. The story beginning with Henry Fool (starring Thomas Jay Ryan) and continuing with Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey) concludes with the two namesakes’ son (Liam Aiken) in the driver’s seat, a soft-spoken teenaged holy warrior on a totally un-ironic mission to kill his father, who may or may not be an extremely well-educated agent of Satan. Along for the ride is Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, who, in line with Hartley’s ongoing vision, beautifully plays up an unsettling ability to deliver a line with total sincerity, laced with arsenic sarcasm. For a revenge flick, there’s a lot of dialogue dedicated to a sexually-charged doctoral thesis and a poet laureate’s forays into comedy vlogging — all what we’ve come to expect from Hartley’s ever-evolving oeuvre. Plus, the wanton hedonism implied in a simple scene of grocery shopping on a stolen credit card perfectly summarizes Hartley’s eloquence in the art of understatement.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 2014, DCP, 85 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ned Rifle”!
YouTube Preview Image

Trust & The Unbelievable Truth (Hal Hartley in person!)

trust_unbelievable_website
4/4/2015 - 7PM

A double bill of the darkly comic gems that launched Hal Hartley as one of the primary indie auteurs/arbiters of Nineties cool. Would you describe yourself as both high-minded and hopelessly childish? Maybe withdrawn in disgust but without apathy, wishing you could sucker-punch every chump you meet? Do you dream of locking the door and reading Tolstoy until the ozone burns off, and humanity finally toasts itself? If so, you might be a Hal Hartley character. Both of today’s films take place in Hartley’s native Long Island, and star the unforgettable Adrienne Shelley as a disaffected suburban teenager, each time drawn to a potentially dangerous man of mystery. In Trust, she and her star-crossed young reject (Hartley fave Martin Donovan) suffer so stylishly you almost forget she accidentally killed her dad. In The Unbelievable Truth (shot on a shoestring, and nominated for a Sundance Grand Jury Prize), she’s enchanted by a genius auto mechanic recently released from prison for murder. Every withering deadpan comeback, heartfelt guitar line, absurdist lyrical flourish, and photographic étude of color and geometry feels precision-tuned and laser-guided, thanks to Hartley’s obsessive command of the form.
Trust Dir. Hal Hartley, 1990, 107 min.
The Unbelievable Truth Dir. Hal Hartley, 1989, 90 min.

Watch the trailer for “Trust”!
YouTube Preview Image

Watch the trailer for “The Unbelievable Truth”!
YouTube Preview Image

An Evening With Hal Hartley (feat. "Ned Rifle", plus Aubrey Plaza, Liam Aiken & James Urbaniak in person!)

nedrifle_website
4/3/2015 - 8PM

Hal Hartley’s cinematic universe — born out of the scrappy ‘80s underground, flourishing brightly in the ‘90s Golden Age of American Indies and blooming even further onto the modern landscape — is dense with deadpan poetics, insouciant attitude and a nicotine-stained East Coast whimsy that will live forever. As we geared up for Ned Rifle, Hal’s latest, we realized it absolutely was the time to bring his previous works to the Cinefamily screen. Join Hal as he regales us with tales from across his entire career, followed by the L.A. premiere of Ned Rifle, and a Q&A with co-stars Aubrey Plaza, Liam Aiken & James Urbaniak!

NED RIFLE
Kickstarter-funded and cast from Hartley’s career-spanning pool of favorite faces, this is a truly independent cinema, tailor-made on a level that big studio flicks will still never match. The story beginning with Henry Fool (starring Thomas Jay Ryan) and continuing with Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey) concludes with the two namesakes’ son in the driver’s seat. Liam Aiken plays the soft-spoken teenaged holy warrior on a totally un-ironic mission to kill his father, who may or may not be an extremely well-educated agent of Satan. Along for the ride is Parks & Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, who, totally in line with Hartley’s ongoing vision, beautifully plays up an unsettling ability to deliver a line with total sincerity, laced with arsenic sarcasm.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 2014, DCP, 85 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ned Rifle”!
YouTube Preview Image

Henry Fool & Fay Grim (Hal Hartley & James Urbaniak in person!)

henryfool_faygrim_website
4/2/2015 - 7:30PM

Winner of Best Screenplay at Cannes in 1998, Henry Fool is that perfect mix of chaotic energy and taut, meticulously constructed dialogue that makes auteur Hal Hartley so goddamn great. The story of a struggling novelist, a rising poet and an unlikely love affair, this uproarious drama (with a touch of thriller) plays with the very “Hartley” themes of failed expectation and unexpected redemption. As always, the writer/director takes his skilled cast (Parker Posey, Thomas Jay Ryan and James Urbaniak) to strange, new places –- with performances as deep and roiling as an oceanic abyss. Hartley later forged an unlikely sequel in Fay Grim, nearly a decade after Henry Fool‘s release. Here, we pick up on the trail of his rogue anti-hero via his beleaguered wife Fay (the fantastic Parker Posey) as she travels through Europe on the hunt for her fugitive husband. Shot almost entirely in tilted “Dutch angle” shots, the film is wonderfully off-kilter. Jeff Goldblum appears, sly and dry as ever, as the slick CIA agent who coerces a fragile Fay to investigate the increasingly labyrinthine mystery of Fool. As well, Posey gives the performance of her career, careening through a strange and dangerous world with an unshakable, glorious-to-watch naiveté.
Henry Fool Dir. Hal Hartley, 1997, 35mm, 137 min.
Fay Grim Dir. Hal Hartley, 2009, 35mm, 118 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Henry Fool”!
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Watch the trailer for “Fay Grim”!
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