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Book of Life, The (1998)

Original Title : Book of Life, The
Director : Hal Hartley
Writer : Hal Hartley
Genre : Comedy
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Simon Arnal , Caroline Benjo , Jerome Brownstein , Thierry Cagianut , Pierre Chevalier , Chelsea Fuhrer , Matthew Myers , Carole Scotta
Music : David Byrne
P.J. Harvey
Photography : Jim Denault
IMDB ID : 0167059
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poster for "Book of Life, The" by Hal Hartley (1998)
Book of Life, The (1998) - Hal Hartley
 

Starring

Martin Donovan Jesus Christ
P.J. Harvey Magdalena
Thomas Jay Ryan Satan
Miho Nikaido Edie
Anna Köhler Hotel Clerk
Martin Pfefferkorn Martyr
Layla Alexander Waitress (as Olga Alexandrova
Michael Marisi Ornstein Computer Wizard (as Michael Ornstein
Paul Albe Mormon Thug
Don Creech Mormon Thug
Joseph McKenna Man at Airport
Abby Royle Woman at Airport
William S. Burroughs Preacher on radio (voice
Katreen Hardt Lawyer's Assistant
Georgia Hubley Salvation Army Band (as Yo La Tengo
Ira Kaplan Salvation Army Band (as Yo La Tengo
James McNew Salvation Army Band (as Yo La Tengo
D.J. Mendel Lawyer
Dave Simonds Dave
James Urbaniak True Believer
 

Plot

The end of the millenium has taken on a certain significance in modern day prophecies. What happens if Jesus Christ has second thoughts about the Apocalypse? It is December 31, 1999 and New Year's Eve takes on new meaning when the Devil, Jesus Christ, and Christ's assistant Magdelina discuss and debate the end of the world, the opening of the seven seals, and the essence of being human.
 

Comments

Cute and Hip The whole recontextualizing of Christ is just killer subject matter. Once you get past despising or evangelizing ancient religious texts, they are a wealth of great metaphors, characters, plots and paradox. PJHarvey here is super junky-sheik petite punk-rock eye candy- with a biblical twist. The idea was kind of a Svankmayer meets Bukowsky perspective on the cataclysmic turning of the millennium- a great concept. Didn't quite pull it off though. The proof is always in the surprise sense of irony in the ending, and it just didn't have it.
 
poster for "Book of Life, The"
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Book of Life, The (1998) - Hal Hartley
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