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The Book of Life
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Genre:Art/Foreign
Year:1998
Rating:NR
Length:1 Hour 3 Minutes
Cast:Hal Hartley, Martin Donovan, PJ Harvey, PJ Harvey

Jesus Christ wears a suit and tie and hangs around in hotel bars in The Book of Life, an offbeat riff on the Book of Revelations from director Hal Hartley (Trust). Martin Donovan plays the New Testament star who arrives in New York City on December 31, 1999 to bring on the Apocalypse and to judge the living and the dead. That the Book of Life itself turns out to be an icon on the desktop of a Mac laptop is just part of the fun here. Singer P.J. Harvey is cast as a distinctly downtown Magdelena (i.e. Mary Magdalene) and Thomas Jay Ryan (Henry Fool) is a rather unimposing, low-rent Satan. Although God doesn't make an appearance in The Book of Life, his interests in the situation are ably represented by the firm of Armageddon, Armageddon and Jehosephat. Shot as part of 2000 Seen By... (a series of end-of-the-millennium films commissioned for French TV), The Book of Life is stylishly photographed in hand-held digital video, and features a superb soundtrack that includes music from Yo La Tengo and P.J. Harvey herself. The result is a delightfully savvy satire -- trs hip and totally Hartley. Gregory Baird

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