Directed by Hal Hartley

Directed by Hal Hartley

31 Episodes

Hal Hartley is a true independent, boasting one of the most idiosyncratic bodies of work in all of contemporary cinema. First emerging in the late 1980s and early ’90s with a fully formed sensibility on display in the barbed romantic comedies THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH and TRUST, he quickly became one of the most acclaimed voices on the indie circuit. But while many of his peers moved toward the mainstream, Hartley continued to cultivate his own decidedly personal methods. Marked by their deadpan wit, formal rigor, underground-rock soundtracks (featuring Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth as well as the director’s own compositions) and offbeat performances (from rising stars such as Adrienne Shelly, Parker Posey, Edie Falco, Martin Donovan, and Elina Löwensohn), his films are unmistakably his, preternaturally attuned to language, behavior, and the dynamics between his vividly drawn characters. This comprehensive retrospective offers a chance to immerse yourself in the droll, effortlessly cool, bracingly humanist work of an artist in a league of his own.

Subscribe Share
Directed by Hal Hartley
  • Hal Hartley Interview

    Episode 1

    This interview with director Hal Hartley was recorded in 2023.

  • Directed by Hal Hartley Teaser

    Episode 2

  • The Unbelievable Truth

    Episode 3

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1989 • United States
    Starring Adrienne Shelly, Robert John Burke, Christopher Cooke

    Audry (Adrienne Shelly in her first film role), a young woman bound for Harvard and disturbingly preoccupied with the threat of nuclear destruction, abandons her college plans for someth...

  • Trust

    Episode 4

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1990 • United States
    Starring Adrienne Shelly, Martin Donovan, Rebecca Nelson

    One of the defining American independent films of the 1990s, Hal Hartley’s second feature is a romantic comedy told with the filmmaker’s characteristic verbal dexterity and mordant wit. A hila...

  • Surviving Desire

    Episode 5

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1992 • United States
    Starring Martin Donovan, Mary B. Ward, Matt Malloy

    Sofie (Mary B. Ward) won’t tell anyone she’s sleeping with her professor, Jude (Martin Donovan). He’s young, handsome, and passionate—perfect for Sofie, who just wants to write about love. When they...

  • Simple Men

    Episode 6

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1992 • United States
    Starring Robert John Burke, Bill Sage, Karen Sillas

    Dennis (Bill Sage) is a quietly handsome and bookish college student. His older brother, Bill (Robert John Burke), is a rough-hewn ladies’ man and thief. Thrown together to search for their long-lo...

  • Amateur

    Episode 7

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1994 • United States
    Starring Isabelle Huppert, Martin Donovan, Elina Löwensohn

    Indie maverick Hal Hartley puts his typically gonzo, deadpan spin on the crime thriller in this wild tale of sex, sin, and spiritual redemption. Isabelle Huppert delivers one of her all-too-...

  • Flirt

    Episode 8

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1995 • United States
    Starring Bill Sage, Dwight Ewell, Miho Nikaido

    A sexy, unconventional story of love and loss unfolds three times in three different cities: New York, Berlin, and Tokyo. Repeating the same situations and dialogue but with subtle shifts of emphasis, F...

  • Henry Fool

    Episode 9

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1997 • United States
    Starring Thomas Jay Ryan, James Urbaniak, Parker Posey

    Shy and clumsy garbage man Simon Grim (James Urbaniak) endures a colorless life with his depressed mom and promiscuous sister Fay (Parker Posey), until he’s befriended by their strange new tenan...

  • The Book of Life

    Episode 10

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1998 • France, United States
    Starring Martin Donovan, P J Harvey, Dave Simonds

    Hal Hartley imagines the apocalypse—with typically atypical results. On the last day of the twentieth century, Jesus Christ (Martin Donovan) and his assistant Magdalena (art-rock icon PJ Harv...

  • The Girl from Monday

    Episode 11

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 2005 • United States
    Starring Bill Sage, Sabrina Lloyd, Tatiana Abracos

    One of director Hal Hartley’s most intriguingly experimental efforts is a cunning science-fiction satire that plays something like Godard’s ALPHAVILLE updated for our era. In a future New York City ...

  • Fay Grim

    Episode 12

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 2006 • United States, Germany
    Starring Parker Posey, Liam Aiken, James Urbaniak

    Hal Hartley’s follow-up to his acclaimed HENRY FOOL brings us deeper into the world of the enigmatic Grim family with an inventively off-kilter tale of international intrigue. Parker Posey r...

  • Meanwhile

    Episode 13

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 2011 • United States
    Starring D. J. Mendel, Danielle Meyer, Pallavi Sastry

    This generously openhearted fable offers a glimpse of New York City through the eyes of Joe Fulton (D. J. Mendel), a guy who can fix seemingly anything. When Joe’s bank account and credit cards a...

  • Ned Rifle

    Episode 14

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 2014 • United States
    Starring Aubrey Plaza, Parker Posey, Liam Aiken

    In the satisfying closing chapter of director Hal Hartley’s trilogy about the fractured Grim family (preceded by HENRY FOOL and FAY GRIM), young son Ned (Liam Aiken) embarks on a quest to kill his fath...

  • Kid
    Episode 15


    Episode 15

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1984 • United States
    Starring Janine Eriksen, George Feaster, Bob Gosse

    Hal Hartley’s thesis film at SUNY Purchase features a number of actors who would continue to appear in his films in the early 1990s. A young man attempting to leave town to find his estranged girlfr...

  • The Cartographer’s Girlfriend

    Episode 16

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1987 • United States
    Starring Marissa Chibas, George Feaster, Steven Geiger

    A shy and introverted city surveyor has his quiet, scholarly world turned upside down when a young woman mysteriously appears in his apartment in this poetic, sometimes surreal look at male assu...

  • Dogs
    Episode 17


    Episode 17

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1988 • United States
    Starring Ricky Ludwig, Mike Brady, Gary Sauer

    Bursts of canine aggression punctuate a portrait of three men confronting their friendship and failings.

  • Ambition

    Episode 18

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1991 • United States
    Starring George Feaster, Hannah Sullivan, Rick Groel

    Hal Hartley chronicles a day in the life of a young artist who longs for professional success and the attention of beautiful women, but who encounters only frustration and violence.

  • Theory of Achievement

    Episode 19

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1991 • United States
    Starring Bob Gosse, Jessica Sager, Jeffrey Howard

    Young, middle-class, white, college-educated, unskilled, broke, drunk. An aspiring writer tries his hand at real estate, selling Brooklyn as the next great art capital of the world.

  • Opera No. 1

    Episode 20

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1994 • United States
    Starring Patricia Dunnock, Parker Posey, Adrienne Shelly

    Mistaken identities, miscast spells, and rollerblades abound in this comical mini-opera following the exploits of two goddesses interfering with the lives of mortals.

  • NYC 3/94

    Episode 21

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1994 • United States
    Starring Dwight Ewell, Lianna Pai, Paul Schulze

    Hal Hartley chronicles the mundane circumstances of a city under siege.

  • Iris
    Episode 22


    Episode 22

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1994 • United States
    Starring Parker Posey, Sabrina Lloyd

    Parker Posey and Sabrina Lloyd star in an experimental short set to the titular song by the Breeders.

  • The Other Also

    Episode 23

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1997 • United States
    Starring Miho Nikaido, Elina Löwensohn, James Urbaniak

    A minimalist, atmospheric meditation on the theme of love focuses on reconciliation and forgiveness.

  • The New Math(s)

    Episode 24

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 2000 • United States
    Starring D. J. Mendel, Miho Nikaido, David Neumann

    An intricately choreographed fight breaks out over the solution to a math problem.