EIFF Day 2 – Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction



My second film featured focus on one iconic American actors – Harry Dean Stanton.

Your probably like me that you will have seen Harry Dean Stanton in one of the many supporting roles, for me it was Alien and the last film I saw him playing a small role as a security guard in was Avengers Assemble. Yet he has done better films in his career spanning around two hundred and fifty films. He has one of the most recognisable faces in film through his weathered worn, which tells a story in itself.

On with the Film…

Sophie Huber’s Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction gives us, the audience, a glimpse into this man’s life off the camera. 

The film uses a mix of styles such as:

  • Harry sitting on his couch briefly talking to the camera or David Lynch, singing but mostly quiet all shot in black and white
  • Interviews with friends such as Sam Shepherd and Debbie Harry without Harry there either shot in colour or black and white
  • Clips from some of the films he has been in, most notable Paris, Texas
  • Shots of the bar he frequents

This mix is beautifully edited to give the audience a genuine glimpse into Harry Dean Stanton. It close and personal use of camera angles makes the viewer not feel that they are in the room or bar with Harry rather than sitting in a cinema seat.

The use not to delve too deeply into Harry’s past and actual narration from Sophie Huber to give us a biography of Harry’s life aids this film to making it more personal for the viewer. 

When asked direct questions about his life, Harry gives brief and to the point answers with no long dialogue something which he prefers. His friends that give their views on Harry, from the tone in their voices you can tell that it is genuine friendship.

There is something to be said about the film’s short length of 77 minutes seems to unconsciously suit it’s subject by sticking to what is allowed.

This film has made me want to go back over and watch some of the films that Harry Dean Stanton has been in to watch his performance.


Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This is a brief insight to a recognisable character actor beautifully told and never feels lonesome to the viewer.

Harry Dean Stanton Will Not Be Silenced!

One last thing, the film started running for two minutes without any audio leaving us watching only an image of a silent Harry Dean Stanton miming some song. The staff corrected the issue immediately and restarted the film. Though after watching I couldn’t help hear Harry Dean Stanton’s voice say “They should have let it run without the audio, then you would get the true me.” 


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