The Book of Life (1998 film)

The Book of Life is a 1998 film by Hal Hartley. In the film, Jesus returns to earth on the eve of the new millennium planning to bring about the apocalypse, but finds himself surprisingly enamored of humanity. It stars Martin Donovan as Jesus, and PJ Harvey as Mary Magdalene. Yo La Tengo appear as a Salvation Army band.

The Book of Life
Directed byHal Hartley
Produced by
  • Simon Arnal
  • Caroline Benjo
Written byHal Hartley
CinematographyJim Denault
Edited bySteve Hamilton
Release date
  • February 25, 1998 (1998-02-25)
Running time
63 minutes


The film was made for the 2000, Seen By... project,[1] initiated by the French company Haut et Court to produce films depicting the approaching turn of the millennium seen from the perspectives of 10 different countries.[2]


  1. Susan G. Cole, Glenn Sumi, Norman Wilner, John Semley, "TOP 25 TORONTO FILMS," Now, 31 December 2013, URL accessed 15 August 2016.
  2. Yoram Allon, Del Cullen, Hannah Patterson, Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide, Wallflower Press, 2002, p. 367.
  • ABC Limelight magazine, July 2005, quoting Hartley on the D. W. Griffith reference.
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