GIRL FROM MONDAY, THE (director/writer: Hal Hartley; cinematographer: Sarah Cawley-Cabiya; editor: Steve Hamilton; music: Hal Hartley; cast: Bill Sage (Jack Bell), Sabrina Lloyd (Cecile), Tatiana Abracos (The Girl From Monday), Leo Fitzpatrick (William), James Urbaniak (Funk), D J Mendel (Abercrombie); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Hal Hartley/Steve Hamilton; Possible Films Collection; 2005)
“A deadpan funny, off-beat futuristic sci-fi thriller that satirizes a corporatized culture that seems all too contemporary.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Indie auteur Hal Hartley (“Trust”/”Simple Men”/”No Such Thing”) directs and writes a deadpan funny, off-beat futuristic sci-fi thriller that satirizes a corporatized culture that seems all too contemporary. Hartley says he attempted a “fake science fiction movie about the way we live now.”
All the characters are either alien or human, but both act like automatons. It’s in many ways like Godard’s “Alphaville,” especially in reenacting the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. Hartley effectively turns contemporary New York into a sterile dehumanized city of the future that operates on the principle of the bottom line. The world is ruled by a dictatorship of consumerism, under the conglomerate Triple M (Major Multimedia Monopoly). The philosophy is that each individual is regarded as “an investment with growth potential.” Their idea man from the advertising department, in the inner circle of the executives, is a double agent named Jack Bell (Bill Sage), who is an alien from Star 147X. Jack is an immigrant who came from a place that shares a communal consciousness and thereby he has no body. But once Jack arrived on Earth he took on a human form, which made it not possible for him to return home (I guess that’s the price paid for citizenship!).
Jack showed promise to his immediate boss, the snaky Abercrombie (D.J. Mendel), when he came up with the brainstorm of the Human Value Reform Act. The law states that sex is nothing more than a good business investment, and those engaging in sex must choose a partner through the stock exchange; each time they have sex and remain single, their value is raised. Using sex for love, rape or pleasure is a criminal act, since it’s considered perverse and goes against the dictatorship’s governing business decrees. When Jack’s executive co-worker Cecile (Sabrina Lloyd) violates the law and makes love with the much younger 17-year-old stud William (Leo Fitzpatrick), an adventurer who joined a radical counter-revolutionary group (they have no bar codes on their wrists and no business credit rating) secretly headed by Jack, she’s sentenced to become a high school teacher for two years. All the teachers are convicts, since working in a school with sedated dangerous students is considered a hard labor punishment. After her sex for pleasure escapade Cecile, a former reactionary, is considered a counter-revolutionist and is bravely willing to be an underground freedom fighter to aid the cause.
The film’s other heroine is a nameless alien (Tatiana Abracos, a Brazilian model), the “girl” from the title, who suddenly emerges from the sea as an eyeful. She’s from the constellation Monday, representing a collectivized alien race, and has taken on an uncomfortable human form in her mission to rescue Jack by bringing him back to Monday and away from this hellish puritanical “business correct” world. Jack is guilt-stricken for coming up with the sex as a business investment idea, as his human conscious level is raised, and he is now trying to sabotage the Triple M conglomerate with his leftist anti-capitalist tactics.
Though it sometimes seemed muddled and too chatty, it wins out by being so playful, sexy, thought-provoking and witty. The low-tech sci-fi film goes from color to black-and-white, and was shot on a hand-held camera on digital video. It uses location shots in New York City and Puerto Rico.
REVIEWED ON 4/19/2007 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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