Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction Screen 5 articles

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction

2012

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction Poster
  • Stanton's more ardent admirers would suggest that simply watching the actor sing a few staples and loosely recall his collaborations easily and rightfully suffices as a film. But Partly Fiction, though occasionally aesthetically alluring and evocative, feels like an introductory chapter to a more substantive, sprawling study of the actor, his myriad friends and colleagues, and his particular outlook on life and performance.

  • Huber responds to Stanton’s languid opacity in ways both inspired (bringing in gonzo filmmaker David Lynch to serve as an equally enigmatic foil) and insipid (a lengthy middle section devoted to unpacking her subject’s leading role in Wim Wenders’s great Paris, Texas is pure Film Theory for Dummies). You still leave impressed at the way Stanton fiercely protects the aura of mystery that makes him such an indelible onscreen presence.

  • Matching her subject’s lackadaisical rhythms, Ms. Huber has shaped an unusually poetic biopic seasoned with perfectly chosen guests (including Wim Wenders, Kris Kristofferson and a still lovely Deborah Harry) and fully integrated film clips. You won’t learn much, but you’ll be strangely happy that you didn’t.

  • The spine of the film is a series of superb black-and-white interludes in which Stanton simply sings for the camera. His take on such classic Americana as “Blue Moon” and “Everybody’s Talkin’,” or “Danny Boy,” will overwhelm you, not so much because he sings so well, but because during these moments Stanton finally reveals himself in all his fragility. For any fan, this is mandatory.

  • Shot beautifully by Seamus McGarvey, "Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction" is a compelling collage of a man who has been ubiquitous in American films for over half a century and is still with us, still working, still staring out at that horizon.

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