Director: Hal Hartley
Screenwriters: Hal Hartley

Institute History


This sexy and often lighthearted exercise in narrative is the fifth feature from one of the stalwarts of American independent cinema, Hal Hartley, who actually got his start at the Sundance Film Festival only six years ago. Hartley’s film The Unbelievable Truth was part of the 1990 dramatic competition, and Trust won the very first Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award in 1991. We are exceptionally pleased to welcome him back.

Expanded from a short Hartley finished in 1993, which now composes the first segment of the film’s variations-on-a-theme composition, Flirt is a cerebral and delightful comedy which essentially tells the same story with similar dialogue in three different places with three completely different sets of characters. Beginning in New York, then moving to Berlin and finally to Japan, the film constructs an elaborate set of meanings and significance from a basically simple premise and story line. Its cinematic payoff is intriguingly delayed, for a true appreciation of the film’s nuances and details is only possible after everything has worked itself out and becomes apparent in retrospect. Watching Hartley gradually construct this comic edifice as he goes along, however, is always thoroughly engaging and fun: Flirt is full of the incisive with and perspective that have become a Hartley trademark and make his characters so distinctive and memorable.

With a srong cast of both familiar—Bill Sage, Parker Posey, Martin Donovan—and unfamiliar faces, Flirt is beautifully conceived filmmaking that really delivers. Stylized and entertaining, it is a true example of the originality and intelligence that American independents embody at their finest.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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