Surviving Desire

Surviving Desire

Director: Hal Hartley

Cast: Hal Hartley, Martin Donovan, Mary Ward, Rebecca Nelson

     
 

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Made for PBS' American Playhouse, Surviving Desire is a very short romantic comedy starring Martin Donovan and Mary Ward. He's an uninspired college literature professor. She's a kooky student, and the only member of Donovan's class who doesn't doze off during his lectures. The comedy relies upon the inevitable pairing of two vague, aimless, but very

Overview

Made for PBS' American Playhouse, Surviving Desire is a very short romantic comedy starring Martin Donovan and Mary Ward. He's an uninspired college literature professor. She's a kooky student, and the only member of Donovan's class who doesn't doze off during his lectures. The comedy relies upon the inevitable pairing of two vague, aimless, but very recognizable campus types. The videocassette version of Surving Desire is filled out with two other short subjects directed by Hal Hartley.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
Hal Hartley's short, sharp rumination on love, sex, and Dostoyevsky -- originally produced for public television -- ranks with his best work and still serves as perhaps the best introduction to the iconoclastic writer/director's unique, often intentionally stilted aesthetic. A good deal of the credit goes to Hartley's longtime leading man -- some might say his Jimmy Stewart -- the lanky, hangdog Martin Donovan. Donovan's gifts for deadpan comedy and interpreting Hartley's dense, encyclopedic dialogue are in full evidence here, so much so that -- as is often the case with micro-budgeted independent features -- some of the more unprofessional cast members pale beside him. Though co-star Mary Ward makes a fetchingly oblique, pixie-ish object of affection, she doesn't quite have the chops to make Hartley's lines sing the way his former naif/muse Adrienne Shelly could. (To be fair to Ward, the director has conceived her Sofia character as a somewhat embittered lost cause.) Still, Surviving Desire is almost delirious with invention: A clandestined first kiss between Donovan and Ward gives way to a silent, impromptu dance sequence that's like a cross between Jacques Demy and Mark Morris. Imminently quotable, stylistically audacious, and occasionally preposterous, Surviving Desire and its follow-up, Simple Men (1992), closed the chapter on Hartley's fascination with suburban New York romance before moving on to more ambitious fare such as Amateur and Henry Fool.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/27/2010
UPC:
0880198108692
Original Release:
1991
Rating:
NR
Source:
Microcinema
Region Code:
0
Time:
1:30:00

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Surviving Desire
1. An Important Paragraph [3:51]
2. All Pain is Desire [3:41]
3. He Likes You [1:35]
4. Marry Me [:58]
5. Books Don't Help [3:11]
6. Why Buy the Cow? [1:07]
7. Not Sufficiently Serious [4:04]
8. Dance [:59]
9. That Guy Called Again [:51]
10. Perhaps [1:51]
11. She's Got a Boyfriend [2:09]
12. Gonna Miss You [1:30]
13. Wrote a Poem For You [2:15]
14. Never Survive This [1:39]
15. Never Be the Same [3:32]
16. Nights Are Too Long [3:06]
17. He Eats Out a Lot [2:03]
18. Claims Not to Know You [3:00]
19. Why Do You Deny Me? [3:27]
20. Why Not Me? [2:11]
21. Knowing is Not Enough [2:40]
22. I'll Be All Right [1:59]
23. End Titles [1:03]

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