Surviving Desire


Time Out says

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.


Release details

53 mins

Cast and crew

Hal Hartley
Hal Hartley
Martin Donovan
Mary Ward
Merritt Nelson
Matt Malloy