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Review: Particles of Truth

The film says absolutely nothing about the way we live our lives.

Particles of Truth
Photo: Dada Films

Pop quiz! So you’ve just finished “giving it to” your dried-up Christian girlfriend and you hear someone coming into the living room area while she’s making you breakfast. Do you (a) stay in the bedroom, (b) put on some clothes before saying hello, or (c) stand uncomfortably at the bedroom door wearing zebra-print briefs? I know what I would do—but, then again, I’m not socially inept. You get a sense throughout Particles of Truth that director Jennifer Elster, a former music video stylist, has never met a living-breathing human being in her entire life, or at the very least has yet to figure out how real people talk and act in front of each other. (Indeed, if there were a cat anywhere in the film, it’d probably bark at its owner.) A meandering, self-absorbed exercise in woe-is-me-dom, this is the kind of film most people get out of their system sometime between their second and third years of film school, unless of course you’re like Morrison Wiley (Queer as Folk’s Gale Harold) and you’ve had the misfortunate of having to live in your car at some point in your life (like Jewel), in which case you subject the entire world to your neurotic, self-pitying aspirations of actualization. From the lily-white Lilli Black (Elster) to the privileged Morrison, everyone in the film is trying to “figure things out,” a journey everyone—and everything (including books and subway walls)—is only too happy to advertise. Morrison is too scared to walk anywhere near an MTA stop, ostensibly because he’s afraid of germs, but maybe because he’s trying to avoid the same graffiti that accosts and conveniently advertises Lilli’s own disconnect from the world: She walks up the stairs in a depressed stupor and the print above her head reads “Welcome To Hell” (fancy that!). As pretentiously titled as Jewel’s A Night Without Armor, Particles of Truth evokes one woman’s life to a series of shrill, depressing embarrassments, a me-me-me spectacle of unexamined grief that allows Elster to condescend to everyone—from men (creeps) to Christians (too stupid to know when a dad is fucking his daughter)—but herself. The film says absolutely nothing about the way we live our lives, but how sweet that Elster’s daddy’s girl allows herself a little happiness in the end.

Cast: Jennifer Elster, Gale Harold, Susan Floyd, Larry Pine, Leslie Lyles, Mark Margolis, Richard Wilkinson, Elizabeth Van Meter, Alan Samulski, Michael Laurence, Victoria Rosen Director: Jennifer Elster Screenwriter: Jennifer Elster Distributor: Dada Films Running Time: 104 min Rating: R Year: 2003 Buy: Video

“Tell the truth but tell it slant”
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