From time to time I interview film directors and stars of films about music. Recently I talked with Sophie Huber, Director of Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, and with Harry Dean himself at his favorite bar in West Hollywood. You can read the full interview on Vents Magazine.
I interviewed them and reviewed the film for Music Friday because Harry Dean Stanton was a musicain as well as an actor who appear in 250 films including Repo Man and Paris, Texas. His band - the Harry Dean Stanton Band - played major clubs in LA. His music was recorded, but never published. Huber's next project is to assemble an album of his music.
Review: Beautiful, absorbing, important. Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction is a film for everyone.
Harry Dean Stanton is one of Hollywood’s most prolific and legendary actors and a fine musician. He has appeared in over 250 films and 50 television shows and is still acting at the age of 87, performing with Daniel Stern and Laurie Metcalf in the HBO series Getting On, to be released in 2014. He was the lead in Paris, Texas and had important roles in Alien, The Godfather: Part II, Repo Man, The Avengers, Pretty in Pink, and The Green Mile among many, many others.
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction is director Sophie Huber’s first film. Her previous experience of live performances, music composition, writing and co-directing with the film collective, hangover ltd., stood her well in assembling this film. .A stroke of genius was the selection of the very talented and professional Seamus McGarvey as the Director of Photography who produced stunning black and white scenes with Harry, taking full advantage of the actors unique, character-filled.
Another stroke of genius was Huber’s decision to make the film non-linear and to use Harry’s singing and harmonica to roll out his story, instead of the usual documentary practice of starting at the beginning and going to the culmination or the end. By moving back and forth between interviews with Kris Kristofferson, David Lunch (at one point Lynch is interviewing Harry) Wim Wenders, Sam Shepard and Deborah Harry, Sophie weaves together a coherent story of a somewhat incoherent life. There is no through line, but there is a through theme – the search for home, which Harry tells us about in his enigmatic philosophy, his music and his characters.
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (the title comes from a line by Kris Kristofferson) is full of unguarded moments, subtle and not so subtle wry humor, and tales of Harry’s friends Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Kris Kristofferson and others. Never quite in the center of Hollywood, Harry unintentionally illuminates the secondary rings of the industry, the brilliant people who pursue their art and their stories instead of fortunes based on CGI and toy licenses.
Sometimes dark, often impressionistic, occasionally a bit slow for an American audience, but always absorbing, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction goes far beyond a documentary on an iconic actor, it is a revealing look into the corners of the entertainment industry . Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction is a must see for movie buffs, for HD Stanton fans and for anyone who loves Hollywood and the movies. I guess that makes it a film for all of us.
Host, Music Friday
HARRY DEAN STANTON: PARTLY FICTION
Running Time: 77 minutes
Opens in Los Angeles on September 13 followed by a national roll-out.