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Directed by Hal Hartley

United States 1990 107 mins. In English

Adrienne Shelly and Martin Donovan unforgettably star in Hal Hartley’s sophomore feature, a Long Island-set comic romance that takes full advantage of its razor-sharp script to gleefully skewer suburban American codes and mores. Maria (Shelly) is a 17-year-old high school student who one day turns up pregnant, to the chagrin of her parents, with tragic consequence. Matthew (Donovan), older than Maria, is a self-taught electronics repair genius, but can’t help questioning everything in his life and thus can’t hold down a job. Hartley mashes these two situations together to thrilling effect, mining the drama inherent to the misfits’ place in their worlds while hilariously subverting everything under the sun: mass culture, marriage, reason, Reaganite values, and even the simple idea of love—which ultimately becomes postulated as something altogether more satisfying than our common definition.

New 35mm print from the Chicago Film Society.