Friday, June 02, 2006

#23- Trust- Hal Hartley- 1990

Maria Coughlin: He's dangerous but sincere.
Nurse Paine: Sincerely dangerous.
Maria Coughlin:
No, he's dangerous *because* he's sincere.

Thanks to Byron Karabotsos and his class, I discovered an amazing indie director from the 90s who had critical acclaim when his films were out, but fell off the face of the earth afterwards. Hal Hartley films are a breed of their own. Trust is just one of the many you will see on this list (with more to come as the list rolls on.) His style of comedy and phiosophy intertwined with unconventional directing and acting styles breathes fresh air into the lungs of indie film fans.

The reason Trust makes the list so high is for its sheer hilarity and bittersweet storytelling. The story of two young teens (yes, they are both teens) shows the innocence, yet truth behind young "love." At the very beginning, Maria (played brilliantly by the forgotten Adriene Shelley... btw, she makes me swoon in every role I've seen her in which is two Hartley films) tells her family shes pregnant which kills her father... literally. Matthew (played by my all-time favorite actor and personal hero Martin Donovan) is a genius misunderstood by his boss, his father and the locals who assume he is dangerous. They find each other as he is out looking for a job and she is kicked out of his house. There relationship is one of need as she needs a father for her child and he has no woman in his life (his mother is dead.) The relationship grows out of necessity and out of Trust.

It's a beautifully twisted and hilarious tale of relationships (as most Hartley movies are about these themes.) Wheter he focuses on the twisted family situations that the American culture has seen growing rapidly or the love relationships that build out of strage circumstance, Hartley shapes the dialogue around dry, witty conversations that bounce back and forth like a ping-pong game of ideologies. It doesn't help that intermingled with these deep conversations are random scenes of hilarity. One scene when Matthew is quitting his job at the television repair shop that bores him (he states that "television is the opium of the masses"), he storms out and sees a line of about 20 people with broken televisions. He bumps into a lady who drops her TV and smashes it. He stops, looks at her and says "It was broken already." Things like this take you out of the serious subject matter and smack you in the face to bring you back to the comedy.

Any romantic comedy lover will like this film, although it is far and away not your average romantic comedy. It's a romantic comedy with a deep, dark wit attatched to it. It's a piece about romance, television, society and ultimately, Trust. It's another hard one to find (as there is no DVD version of the film) but if you want to see it, let me know and I can set aside time to show you my ultimately rare and out-of-print VHS copy of this gem.


Anonymous said...

I do agree

Hal Hartley's films were the hightlight of Byron's class. I really enjoyed both movies he showed. I really want to own them.

Damn you Byron! I love to hate you, and hate to love some of the films you showed! (Minus Safe)

"That's interesting"

No Byron! That's not interesting! It's great!
-Jo Anna

Paul Tsikitas said...

Hahaha! When Byron says "That's interesting" he means "You're wrong." But when he says "That's awesome" he means "Thats what I think so it's write."

It's a shame you hate him because he's pretty rad if you get past the fact his teaching skills aren't exactly great.

And check out more Hartley if you can. They are all great in their own right.

j. leo said...

Still haven't seen it... and can't find it anywhere... when do I schedule a rawkus viewing?

And oh good Christ, when I get home, I have an awesome gift for you. I found it in the prop room trash at work - I'm not even going to divulge what it is - but it relates to this is a very distant way. You will apprecaite liek no ther (maybe Stev).

Paul Tsikitas said...

When you get home, I'll do a Hartley Fest if you want chock full of Hartley (I now own 4 feature length and 3 shorts by the man.) So rock and roll.

Steve said...

"It was broken anyway!"

I must say I don't appreciate Hal Hartley as much as you, Norlen and Dr. Worm. But I must say, Trust is quite excellent and I'd love to see it again ASAP.

Also, Leo, The Book of Life is pretty great as well.