Hal Hartley could be described as several things at once: the genial underdog, a director’s director, a nomad in need of a place to settle. The enigmatic auteur Rolling Stones magazine has called a “fervently inventive original” has remained loyal towards the actors he has worked with (for better or for worse Hartley often works with the same people, like Martin Donovan, James Urbaniak, Parker Posey), uses a simplistic but effective approach to filmmaking (his latest work, ‘Fay Grim,’ was shot entirely via the dutch angle, and no frills) and has been a prolific filmmaker.
Better yet, Hartley (here pictured with Sarah Polley) represents America’s new ambition for auteur cinema, the likes of which is experienced by Europe in waves, the teethering-on-edge, not quite commercially-viable but yet accessible films reminiscent of what took place in Copenhagen in the mid-90s. But though Hartley’s approach to filmmaking could be encompassed within a dogma-based notion of filmmaking, the opposite is not necessarily true. Fay Grim, with a cast including Parker Posey, a fantastically cynical Jeff Goldblum, Liam Aiken and Iran-born German Jasmin Tabatabai was shot in several countries, includes plenty of shoot-out action and was shot in DV.