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USA, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Hal Hartley

Tude (Martin Donovan) is an over-educated literature professor, totally oblivious to the bored students pelting him with books. He is obsessed with a single passage from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, all the while suspecting that he is an atheist undergoing a crisis of conscience. Meanwhile, one of his stu­dents, Sophie (Mary Ward), sits in a cafe; a budding writer, she makes notes in her journal for "a story with him in the centre — or some­one like him. I'll call it...'Him'".

Surviving Desire is another witty and urbane comedy of manners from the prolific and versatile Hal Hartley. Made for television, it displays every element of the polished craft, scholarly wit and daring style one would expect from the talented director of Trust and The Unbelievable Truth (both seen at previous MFFs), without any compromises for the smaller screen.

Filled with amusing non-sequiturs, droll dialogue and self-deprecatory characters in danger of thinking and talking themselves out of existence, it is a wryly comic journey through the paradoxes of 'modern love', where, it seems, heterosexual attraction carries a burden of guilt and uncertainty. Hartley doesn't purport to know how to surmount the existential black holes of his characters' lives, but at least he has a great time rolling along with them — even dancing with them, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

See also...

The Theory of Achievement

Everybody on the block wants to be famous, don't they? ... A new short from the director of The Unbelievable Truth and Trust. ... More »


Hal Hartley's feature debut takes us back to his native Long Island, where the lovely, 17-year-old Audry Hugo, a nuclearphobic high school senior falls madly in love with a perfectly chiselled auto ... More »


“You're a good woman, Fay. Someday when all this is over and we have destroyed Western civilization... ” Ten years have passed since Henry Fool. With Fay Grim, filmmaker Hal Hartley reunites us ... More »


Henry Fool is a self-styled Intellectual whose proclamations ring with both truth and falsity. His arrival info the lives of a dysfunctional family signifies the beginning of delicate yet profound ... More »


After The Unbelievable Truth became one of the sleeper hits of last year, director Hal Hartley is back with another biting, provocative comedy of suburban middle America. With Trust Hal Hartley ... More »


... ... Deadpan, fiercely cynical and extremely funny, Hal Hartley has cemented his reputa­tion as the US independent requiring the closest of scrutiny. This curious director creates a ... More »

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