Monday, June 27, 2005

Hal Hartley: Berlin or Bust or Both

Hal Hartley dropped by SoHo's Apple Store last Friday to answer questions from a standing-room only audience that sampled behind-the-scenes footage from his latest film The Girl From Monday. Among the film-school geekery ("Um, who are your influences?") and techno-wonkery ("Is that camera the Panasonic X-12-DVmatic-zzzzzzzzzzz…?"), Hartley also fielded a few inquiries about his forthcoming escape from New York.

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Eins, zwei, drei: Hal Hartley, the elementary German (Photo: STV)

A native Long Islander, Hartley simply reiterated his plans to flee to Berlin when The Reeler asked about the current state of the Gotham film scene. When another audience member asked him if his move was a political statement, the normally soft-spoken Hartley offered his most animated answer of the program.

"It's not a political statement," Hartley replied. "I just can't make films anymore in America. It's too expensive. It's too expensive in New York. If you want to make films that are based on your interests or the people around you, you can't necessarily be tied to being a commercial success. And that's all that happens here."

Conveniently, Hartley's next project is set in Berlin, or basically anywhere he feels like taking Parker Posey in his quasi-sequel to 1997's Henry Fool. Posey will reprise her role as Fay Grim, the loose, "naïve American" of Hartley's original who must learn the ropes out in the real world. Sounds great, Hal—auf wiedersehen and good luck and everything, but I see you working. Don't even think about inducting Parker in your little expat cult. I will come and rescue her myself.

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