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Cult Vault #23: William Gibson on The Book of Life

Cyberpunk prophet William Gibson recommends Hal Hartley’s 1998 The Book of Life

Taken from the March 2012 issue of Dazed & Confused:

The Book of Life, featuring PJ Harvey as Jesus Christ’s backpack-toting personal assistant, was shot in Manhattan for French television on the proverbial shoestring. On the final day of 1999, an immaculately suited Jesus and a Bukowski-esque Devil warily circle each other as they meet in a series of sleazy bars and chilly law offices, trying to cut a deal that centres on Christ’s PowerBook. This contains the biblical seventh seal: a file that, when unlocked, will launch a Judgement Day program that will see all hell break loose. Christ also unexpectedly finds himself on a quixotic last-minute mission to save the soul of a saintly waitress who has run afoul of the Devil’s negotiating skills. Hartley seems to relish the so-called limits of digital filmmaking: his images smear, blur, judder, pixelate, and twist. It’s a weirdly compelling grammar he assembles, and the film is funny, tender and vertiginous.” 

William Gibson’s new book of essays, Distrust That Particular Flavor, is out now