Film Comment - 01/01/1993
"...SURVIVING DESIRE is a tender, illusionless bedroom farce from unlikely quarters, with a set of characters who are at once surprisingly romantic and unexpectedly self-preoccupied and detached..."
Filmed for PBS's American Playhouse, Hal Hartley's one-hour romantic comedy focuses on Jude (Martin Donovan), a Dostoevsky-obsessed English professor whose life is turned upside down when he falls head over heels for Sofie (Mary Ward), one of his best students. As Jude negotiates the precarious terrain of their relationship, he seeks the advice of his bookish friend Henry, (Matt Malloy).
In one scene, Jude writes "Knowing is not enough" on the chalkboard of his classroom--a statement that concisely sums up the film's central theme. This engaging featurette contains many of Hartley's quirky trademarks, including clipped philosophical discussions and seemingly spontaneous actions--in this case, Donovan's character suddenly breaking into a hilarious silent dance rountine. Also included are Hartley's short films THEORY OF ACHIEVEMENT and AMBITION.
An American Playhouse presentation of Hal Hartley's drama about an English professor whose life is turned upside down when he falls head over heels for one of his students.
Filmed in Poughkeepsie, New York in 16mm and Technicolor.
Released on video January 27, 1993.
Additional credits: David M. Davis, executive director (American Playhouse); Lynn Holst, director of program development (American Playhouse)
Additional funding: National Endowment for the Arts (American Playhouse); Chubb Group of Insurance Companies (American Playhouse)
Broadcast on PBS as a presentation of American Playhouse. Presented by KCET (Los Angeles); South Carolina Education Television (SCETV); WGBH (Boston); and WNET/Thirteen (New York).
Shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of the program "3 by Hal Hartley" December 19, 1991, and at the Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM) in New York City as part of "3 by Hal Hartley" September 24-October 3, 1991. Released on video January 27, 1993.