Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008.
1990: Trust (Hal Hartley)
I’ll never forget reading the liner notes for Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers album and seeing their music described as “angular.” At the time, it seemed a strange word to use, and yet the more I thought about it, the more it seemed apt for their music—and, for that matter, apt for a few other things I’ve experienced, as well. In fact, it’s the best word I can think of to describe Hal Hartley’s work.
Trust—and some of the other Hartley movies from this period—possesses some of the most unique rhythms and cadences in the history of film. It’s almost as if it invented a whole new time signature. The movie doesn’t cut when it seems normal to cut. The camera doesn’t move when it seems like it should. Everything seems to be just a little bit off. But, at the same time, it all coheres into something that is clearly conceived and purposeful.
This is my favorite of all of Hartley’s films. It’s the one where Hartley seems to hear that skewed metronome the clearest and lets it guide him the most. Hartley is definitely not for everyone, but if you like the rhythms of Jarmusch or Kitano, I would think you’d love this one, too. For me, it’s one of the most beautiful and accomplished films of this entire period.
What moviemakers can learn: One of the most pointed ways to express oneself as a moviemaker is through your film’s rhythm. Study some of the masters of this, like Jim Jarmusch, Yasujirô Ozu and Hal Hartley.
Other contenders for 1990: I still have some things to see. These include: Jean-Luc Godard’s Nouvelle vague, Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger and Hal Hartley’s The Unbelievable Truth. I really like Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up, the Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing, Wong Kar-Wai’s Days of Being Wild and Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table. I love Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan, James Ivory’s Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, John Woo’s Bullet in the Head and David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” pilot. And my closest runner-up is Abel Ferrara’s King of New York.
After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors. Goodman is now at work raising money for his next feature, Peril.