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Adrienne Shelly, actress of "The Unbelievable Truth", at Curtas Vila do Conde



1993 was the year of the first Curtas Vila do Conde. The festival presented Hal Hartley’s feature film debut “The Unbelievable Truth” (1989) and three shorts made in 1991: “Ambition”, “Theory of Achievement” and “Surviving Desire”. These three shorts established the grounds for an extremely prolific period for this North American director. For Hartley “short film can achieve a fullness of expression and execution, while still being essentially sketchy”. With these shorts, Hartley wanted to explore an approach to filmmaking that was not based on the narrative arc, which is fundamental in his features.


Acclaimed by critics and audience, “The Unbelievable Truth” is a serious and ironic film about the darker and most intangible components of human relationships. In this film, Hartley gathers the actors who would become inseparable from his work, such as the late Adrienne Shelly, Edie Falco and Robert Burke.


Hal Hartley is highly regarded, along with Jim Jarmusch and John Sayle, in art house and independent US cinema. His films give special attention to dialogue and to the actors’ attitudes.


Hal Hartley was born in Long Island, USA. He attended the Boston Art School where he directed his first experimental short films. In 1994 he graduated from the New York State University and started working for “Action Productions” as a producer and writer, a collaboration that resulted in the production of his first feature film.