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.