Hal Hartley’s THE BOOK OF LIFE at Cinephile Night, 4/21

American film director, screenwriter and composer Hal Hartley is a key figure in the American independent film movement, with a career beginning 1980s and 1990s.

Cinephile Night this Thursday (April 21) features the film THE BOOK OF LIFE– written and directed by Hartley, released in 1998, and was one of the first films shot on digital video.

The FREE showing begins 730 PM at the Tioseco-Bohinc Film Archive.

Financed by French television, The Book of Life is the American entry to a series of films to celebrate the Millennium (the year 2000). The black comedy was shot entirely on digital video in New York and imagines Jesus’ (Martin Donovan) second coming with the Book of Life which will start the Apocalypse on the eve of the Millennium. With Mary Magdalene (rock singer PJ Harvey), Jesus learns to love humanity despite their flaws then debates with Satan (Thomas Jay Ryan) as to whether or not to end their fate.

Here’s a clip from the film, featuring Jesus and Satan’s verbal confrontation.

The film also features a voice-over by William Burroughs as a radio preacher and Yo La Tengo, who appear as a Salvation Army band.

Hartley’s films are notable for his trademark styles – deadpan humour, off-beat characters posing philosophical questions and discussion about the meaning of life through stilted, pause-filled dialogue combined with a degree of stylisation in acting, choreography and camera movement.

His works provided a career launch for a number of actors, including Adrienne Shelly, Edie Falco, Martin Donovan and Parker Posey.

The Tioseco-Bohinc Film Archive (Facebook page here) is a Cinema Studies Resource Center in Cebu, the only one of its kind on the island.

Its DVD library of over 3000 foreign films also features books and journals on movies. The Tioseco-Bohinc Film Archive is also a member of the national Society of Filipino Archivists for Film (SOFIA). For more information about the Archive and their activities, please direct your inquiries to tiosecobohincarchive@yahoo.com, or through (+63)912.839.0692

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *