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October 05, 1990 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-05

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 5, 1990
Believe the truth

The Unbelievable
Truth
dTr. Hal Hartley
by Jon BIltk

The secret to The Unbelievable
Truth lies in its name, an enigmatic
but simple truth about a movie that
expresses its truths beautifully but
simply, elliptically then surprisingly
clear: Characters reveal themselves
" yin fragments, concisely yet not im-
fimediately to the point, languid and
. :slow. Scenes take place un-self-con-
sciously against mundane backdrops
--that seem surreal, building tension
Sbetween the realization that a blue
ritucco wall, an auto repair shop, a
, bgrass lawn mean nothing, but seem
v'ta-assume a heightened reality by
.. their isolation and the characters they
o'rkrround.
The story is irrelevant because
Nthe characters create so much, yet it
-moves with a serious dynamism,
"working in counterpoint with the
"A g o sy u a p e itdmerchant, this store .features
* -
if

characters. But ultimately, like the
backdrops, the story stands out by
virtue of its lack of self-recognition.
Of the story, one can say that Josh
Hutton returns from prison to his
small Long Island hometown. All
we know of him is that he's going
"home," that he's coming from
"prison." Everybody who sees him
asks if he's a priest because of his
black clothing. "No, I'm a me-
chanic." Without pretense, he meets
people from his past, walking into
scenes in medias res that continue af-
ter he leaves, open-ended.
The scenes govern themselves
without the pretense of utility -
they don't seem to have particular
narrative purpose, yet they do. The
characters and their individual stories
all come together in unexpected and
believable ways. It's a quietly bril-
liant way to tell a story. It's beauti-
ful, mysterious, liquid and surreal
because it's simple, clear, honest, to
the point.
Josh meets Audrey, or Audrey
meets Josh - it's difficult to say

which, but their early relationship
has the quality of chance. Audrey is
a nihilistic 18 year-old, just gradu-
ated from high school, accepted to
Harvard but loathe to go because the
world could end at any minute. She
isn't angry and she isn't cute; she's
depressed and she's brutally frank,
yet elusively fresh. Which is proba-
bly the formative principle of this
film, the peaceful tension it paints
with contradictions of ideals and atti-
tudes.
The Unbelievable Truth defies
conventional description because it
defies conventional form, in its sim-
plicity and its complexity. It
"explores" themes and relationships,
but it achieves a higher simple real-
ity that doesn't present itself as any-
thing special. Audrey and Josh have
an immediate connection that isn't
electric, but it's palpable and, some-
how, intuitively believable. Before
she knows of his past, Audrey gives
Josh the address of her father's
garage because Josh needs a job.
See TRUTH, page 9.

Josh Hutton, played by Robert Burke, kisses Audry Hugo, played by Adrienne Shelly. Although you can't see her face,
Adrienne is a Rosanna Arquette look-alike.

I

CARROLL
Continued from page 7
to someone, especially if they're
reading prose," he told the L.A.
Reader. Carroll tries to concentrate
on the humorous anecdotes found in
his diaries, like the aforementioned
"The Poet and the Vibrator" episode.
Besides the diaries and the
records, Carroll has published two
other books. Living at the Movies, a
collection of poetry, was Carroll's

first published book. The Book of
Nods, contains both verse and prose-
poetry, more like Rimbaldian
Illuminations than journal entries.
JIM CARROLL, ALLEN GINS-
BERG and JOhN SINCLAIR ANDI
HIS BLUES SCHOLARS will per-
form their poetry at 8 p.m. tonight
at the Power Center. General
admission tickets are $12.50 at the
Union Ticket Officeor at the Power
Center.

A

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