Archive of films Bartleby / Bartleby

2000, 83 min

Section: Forum of Independents
Year: 2001


Bartleby is a modern, updated version of Herman Melville’s 1856 classic, "Bartleby the Scrivener". The Boss of a small office decides to hire a new employee. The ad for a deadly dull and low-paying position attracts only one candidate: Bartleby. At first, Bartleby is exceptionally efficient. Gradually, however, he starts refusing simple tasks from the Boss with his favourite retort "I would prefer not to". Eventually he stops working altogether, so the Boss has to fire him. The trouble is, Bartleby refuses to leave the office. . . . This absurd, Kafkaesque, highly stylised black comedy is a first-class satire on bureaucracy, alienated labour and divisions in modern society; it is also a surrealist poem about lost humanity and compassion.

About the director

Jonathan Parker, director, writer and composer, studied at Stanford University before studying film at NYU and composition at the Manhattan School of Music. During the 1980s he toured as a pianist with alternative music groups from San Francisco, recorded albums for CBS Records, and made music videos. His award-winning 1994 short film Hugo and Hilda Get Engaged was screened at film festivals around the world. Bartleby is his first feature film.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Forum of Independents
Director: Jonathan Parker
Screenplay: Jonathan Parker, Catherine Di Napoli
Dir. of Photography: Wah Ho Chan
Music: Jonathan Parker, Seth Asarnow
Editor: Rick LeCompte
Producer: Jonathan Parker, Catherine Di Napoli
Production: Parker Film Company
Cast: David Paymer, Crispin Glover, Glenne Headly, Joe Piscopo, Seymour Cassel, Dick Martin, Maury Chaykin

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