Phil Gyford


Tuesday 3 December 2002

PreviousIndexNext Hal Hartley on BBC2

On Friday night BBC2 are showing Book of Life by my favourite director, Hal Hartley. I don’t think this was shown at the cinema at all in the UK and it hasn’t come out on VHS or DVD here either. Not only does it star the wonderful Hartley regular Martin Donovan as Jesus, but also PJ Harvey as Magdalen. Set your video/Tivo for 1.15am.


Actually it is available on DVD, as long as you can play Region 1. Shot on digital video, 'Book of Life' was a USTV commission for the turn of the millennium and therefore is not only two years late but also a month early.

It's a little over-philosophical and slow, much of the acting is horribly flat and one of the "twists" is truly slap-your-forehead stupid. On the other hand, Martin Donovan. And the "Yes/No" joke is a classic.

Soundtrack CD's a killer too.

Posted by James Wallis on 3 December 2002, 8:22 pm | Link

Yeah, I realise it's out on DVD (and VHS) in the US, but I meant in the UK. I know, I'm just perpetuating the old-fashioned notion of the nation state. :)

Posted by Phil Gyford on 4 December 2002, 9:40 am | Link

saw the film - amazing. It stopped me in my tracks. Loved the effect obtained by shooting it with a hand held camera and the soundtrack is stunning. I must get a copy.

Posted by jane on 7 December 2002, 7:25 pm | Link

I must admit I was slightly disappointed with it. Like James said, it was "a little over-philosophical and slow." But I enjoyed it nevertheless. The dialogue and music were very Hal Hartley and made me want to go and watch his older movies again.

Posted by Phil Gyford on 8 December 2002, 11:58 am | Link

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