Amateur, 1994


Hal Hartley


visit the film locations

New York: Flights: JFK Airport

Visit: the Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston Street at Broadway in Greenwich Village (tel: 212.995.2570)

Visit: The Cloisters, 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, north of Washington Heights (tel: 212.923.3700) (subway: A train to 190th Street)


The Cloisters is featured again in Don Siegel’s 1968 Coogan’s Bluff, with Clint Eastwood, and IRA thriller The Devil’s Own, with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt.

Fiercely indie director Hal Hartley deserts his usual Long Island locales for central Manhattan, and even ventures, quirkily, into thriller territory as amnesiac heavy Thomas (Martin Donovan) gets involved with virgin nymphomaniac nun Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert) and a pair of oddball hitpeople.

The café where Sofia (Elina Lowensohn) meets Edward (Damian Young) and puts in a fateful phone call to Amsterdam is the Angelika Cafe in the six-screen arthouse cinema Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston Street at Mercer Street in SoHo.

The Cafe, in the theater lobby, is open to the public, so you don't need a movie ticket to enjoy a meal or a coffee. The original Angelika Film Center opened in 1989, and has gone on to spawn three more cinemas in Houston, Dallas and Plano, Texas.

Sofia and Edward are subsequently tracked down to the concourse of Grand Central Station. The public phone where a manic Edward, suffering the after-effects of a little improvised electro-convulsive therapy, gets arrested, is at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 19th Street, just northwest of Union Square.

Thomas is finally gunned down when he accompanies Isabelle back to her convent. This normally quiet haven is a blissfully useful escape from the pizazz of Manhattan. A cluster of medieval European buildings transported to and rebuilt in the US, The Cloisters, 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, is actually a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, overlooking the Hudson River in Fort Tryon Park, north of Washington Heights.

If you need to chill out, The Cloisters are open every day except Mondays from 9.30am to 4.45pm, entrance on West 193rd Street at Fort Washington Avenue.

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