Harry Dean Stanton: Partly FictionThe Landmark Nuart Theatre
11272 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Director Sophie Huber's new film Partly Fiction is not your conventional documentary profile. The camera (in the hands of the great Seamus McGarvey) studies Harry Dean Stanton's face and pays attention to how he doesn't talk. And Stanton says more when he sings, anyway; the film is full of songs, old favorites and standards, which flicker across the star's face and dance in his eyes as he sings them in lovely (if weathered) tones. Despite Stanton's best efforts, however, some information is conveyed in his interviews (and those of his collaborators) — and some of it is new to those who knew him less as a person than as the characters he portrays in his voluminous film work. The film flings scattered bits and pieces of trivia and minutia, but Partly Fiction is really more about mood and feeling than facts. And music; the songs become Stanton's form of communication, and by the film's end, when the actor sings "Hands on the Wheel" over photos and knick-knacks around the house, it feels as though we know him far better than in any conventional documentary.
Jason Bailey, Editor