Hal Hartley

The Man From The Girl From Monday

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In The Girl From Monday, sex is a commodity, profits come before ethics and anyone who quesItions the system is a revolutionary. Just another day for you and me in paradise? Actually Hal Hartley calls his latest film—shot in digital video, now making the festival rounds and available at his website possible?lms.com—science fiction. Or a rant. Or a loud, mixed-up poem. Of course, all those terms apply—it’s a Hal Hartley film.

PASTE: I really liked what Tatiana Abracos, who plays the title character, said about Monday: “It’s about greed, getting things and not knowing why.”
HARTLEY: Yeah. I think it’s a reflection on an unchecked consumer mentality. Somebody was saying the other night, apropos of something else, that sometimes we feel that, in this society, success is only measured in terms of money and fame. Other types of accomplishments don’t get a lot of attention.

P: How do you think the choices the characters have to make relate to the choices we have to make in real life?
H: To me, the movie seems very realistic. I wrote it as a response to the world I actually live in. It was only after writing 20 or 30 pages that I decided, “Wow, it sounds like science fiction. The world we live in is actually so weird—I didn’t realize.” And then I thought, “Maybe I should tell it as if it were science fiction. It might actually objectify it and help us see the ideas.”

P: I found a quote of yours online, and I wonder if it relates to what you just said. “The things that freak me out the most tend to be the mundane aspects of contemporary culture. I don’t watch TV; I don’t really read newspapers. I’m a little out of touch a lot of the time. Ordinary stuff blows me away, and people are always telling me to get a grip. I’m amazed at how the fantastic so quickly and easily becomes part of the fabric of our everyday lives.”
H: I said that? [Laughs] I’m not actually that out of touch. But it’s true. I’m not a rigorous newspaper reader, for instance. I don’t have television. But media is so much of the air we breathe right now. I actually keep notes about how this isn’t really what’s happening—this is what people are talking about. We get so excited just by talking about events that we’re not always relating the authentic situation.

P: Although it’s very hard to know what the authentic situation is.
H: It is. It seems to me like one of the most important things serious people can be involved in right now. In the past 150 years, we have all this technology, and it just keeps moving faster. So information can be generated and moved around at increasingly higher speeds. But information is not understanding; it’s not knowledge.