Last night we watched the 1990 Hal Hartley film ‘Trust’. This is the sequel to another film we’ve watched at our film club by Hartley, ‘The unbelievable Truth’.

Here’s the blurb from Hartley’s own website:

“Maria is a self-centered teenage suburban brat, until she gets pregnant by her un-loving quarterback boyfriend and gives her father a fatal heart attack. Matthew is a rowdy and disillusioned computer engineer with a vicious temper. Disowned by her devastated mom, dumped by her boyfriend, and shunned by her friends, Maria wanders the streets and bumps into Matthew. These two exiles fall in together and set out trying to become a normal, domestic, suburban couple. But these troubled lives evolve in unexpected ways and Maria grows into a responsible person that few conventional notions of “ordinary” can contain.”

I really enjoy Hartley’s stuff, though I imagine that it’s not to everyone’s taste. I’d say it is intelligent black-comedy. It’s not fast paced, its full of intelligent dialogue, it’s low-budget (‘Trust’ was made in just 11 days) and doesn’t patronisingly explain everything in a just-in-case-the-audience-missed-it kind of way.

‘Trust’ not surprisingly deals with the issue of trust, although the word itself is not used until about 3/4 the way through the film.

What is interesting from a Biblical stand point is that this film is a very real and honest take on the world. There are two options it seems that are presented to us – trust each other (that is show faith, and belief) or seek to control each other.

The only two characters that show real trust are Maria and Matthew. There’s a great scene where they talk about trust and Maria deliberately falls backwards off a tall concrete block. Matthew runs and catches her and she says ‘now I trust you’. Its honest trust. Trust based on experience and belief.

The other characters in the film are full of distrust. Saying one thing and doing another (the dodgy shop keeper), a company trying to sell rubbish goods, Matthews Dad and Maria’s mum seeking to control their respective children.

And where-ever people seek to control there is destruction. Maria’s dad falls down dead right at the start; Maria’s mum alienates her daughter as does Matthew’s dad; Maria thinks that Matthew has cheated on her and so has an abortion (an act of control).

This is of course entirely in line with Genesis 3. As Adam and Eve distrust God, they seek to control their own lives – and destruction follows. Adam and Eve are alienated from each other – they hide from God and each other. God tells them that their relationship is going to be one of seeking to control the other – by overt strength, or more subtle ways. And of course death – something that is ever present in Hartley’s film.

Trust is the answer. But you’ve got to trust in the right person. All these people fail each other. The film can end with Maria and Matthew trusting each other – but what about the next day, and the next day? We let each other down as we find we cannot control the world around us or even our own wayward hearts to protect each other.

But then Jesus turns up. And he says ‘trust me’. And he calms the waves, he heals the sick – and even raises the dead.

Now there’s a man to fall into the arms of.

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