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

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 Maybe withdrawn in disgust but without apathy, wishing you could sucker-punch every chump you meet?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”!
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Watch the trailer for “The Unbelievable Truth”!
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