Surviving Desire

Film
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Seen by Hartley partly as a workshop experiment providing an opportunity to tell an unresolved story, film a rock band, and choreograph a dance number, this made-for-TV featurette nevertheless bears a strong resemblance to his feature work proper. About a lecturer in literature (Donovan) whose obsession with Dostoievsky is replaced by an infatuation with one of his students (Ward), it's packed with literary allusions, ironic wit, sparkling non-naturalistic banter, and moments of playful formal experimentation (most notably a deliciously absurd street dance performed without music). The cast of Hartley regulars makes the most of the droll, discursive dialogue, the saturated primary colours are a joy to behold, and there's the usual concentration on themes relating to trust, ambition, and the solaces and dangers of living too cerebrally. Great fun.

By: GA

Release details

Duration: 53 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Hal Hartley
Screenwriter: Hal Hartley
Cast: Martin Donovan
Mary Ward
Merritt Nelson
Matt Malloy
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