The Book of Life

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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