Thursday, April 15, 2010

For Hal Hartley, the movement of the camera is derived from the movement of the subject; the camera doesn't move with the subject, but in opposition. I'm thinking here of the way the camera pulls away from two men fighting in The Unbelievable Truth until they become shapes on a wall, or the way a man comes into focus at the beginning of Henry Fool by walking towards the camera. The camera is the partner of the action, and together they form a dance. Figures swing into the frame. One of Hartley's signature techniques is a shot that starts before a character has entered the frame and ends a half-second after they've left it. The elements of a Hartley image are all completely physical: people come in and out of shadows they way they come in and out of doors.