Monday, December 10, 2012

Henry Fool (1997)

An acquired taste of independent cinema that deserves a larger audience

When blockbuster hit Titanic was released to extraordinary worldwide attention, James Cameron is supposed to have said "Titanic is not just a cautionary tale - a myth, a parable, a metaphor for the ills of mankind. It is also a story of faith, courage, sacrifice, and, above all else, love"; for which someone on one of the many Anti-Titanic web pages had added "He also forgot to mention that it also cures cancer".  

Yes, 1997 was the year of Hollywood bloat.(And the year of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet - Hell they were everywhere!) Not content with sinking the world’s biggest ship, Hollywood wanted to end the world too, a few times over. (Deep Impact, Armageddon, etc) But none of this could disguise the fact that a good script is about as native to Hollywood as a beer gut ‘n stubbies is to Venezuela. 

As one critic put it, is a good script more expensive than $200 million? [in reference to Titanic’s atrocious script] though many will disagree. Rhetorical as that question is, the answer is no. And one movie stands out - the Cannes award winning Henry Fool directed by the independent auteur Hal Hartley and starring Thomas Jay Ryan, James Urbaniak and Parker Posey.

Henry Fool's budget was probably a million dollars yet its story was clever and insightful. But apparently this is irrelevant because the movie is devoid of baby faced lads in wet shirts to ensure the movie grosses a few squillion dollars.

I lurve this movie because there are oh so many layers to it. Henry Fool operates on many a level - it can be read as a story about the contentious issue of “what is art?” and “what is pornography?”. It explores the mentor/student relationship. In ways, it is a love story -Henry: I love you. Fay: Tough. It’s funny. It’s bleak. 

Though the ending is ambiguous, the movie is still complete. The toilet humor is a tad disconcerting, but otherwise it is superb. It is also supposedly, “a return to form” for Hal Hartley:) I think I have used that term as often as Barack Obama has trumpeted that Hope is the solution to all problems - economic, social, medical, animal, mineral, or vegetable. So, apologies!! Now, click the link below and watch this amazing piece of truly independent cinema. 

Free Video link - Streaming and Download - VeeHD


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