This 1995 film is the only feature by Hal Hartley that has the same degree of formal playfulness as his overlooked short films — perhaps because it was made as if it were three separate shorts. All three recount the same story, but they’re set in different cities (New York, Berlin, and Tokyo) and told mainly in different languages, and the characters change race, gender, and ethnicity. Though it lacks some of the charms of Hartley’s Trust and The Unbelievable Truth and even announces the likelihood of its failure as an experiment, this is in some ways my favorite Hartley picture — because it takes the most risks and gives the mind the most to do. The actors include Martin Donovan, Parker Posey, Dwight Ewell, Geno Lechner, Elina Lowensohn, Miho Nikaidoh, Kumiko Ishizuka, and Hartley himself; the whole thing unfolds in an economical 85 minutes. (JR)

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