EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|SURVIVING DESIRE (director/writer: Hal Hartley; cinematographer: Michael Spiller; editor: Hal Hartley; music: Hal Hartley; cast: Martin Donovan (Jude), Mary B. Ward (Sofie), Matt Malloy (Henry), Merritt Nelson (Katie), Julie Sukman (Jill); Runtime: 53; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ted Hope; Microcinema International; 1991)|
|"The filmmaker's usual droll humor."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Indie filmmaker Hal Hartley's ("Trust"/"Henry Fool"/"Simple Men") playful short romantic/comedy/drama was made for PBS' American Playhouse and shot as a workshop experiment. It features the filmmaker's usual droll humor and stylized choppy dialectical dialogue, as well as his usual themes about trust, the challenge of romantic relationships, ambition and being cerebral in a world that doesn't appreciate intellect as much as material success.
Jude (Martin Donovan) is a cynical
college literature professor in Poughkeepsie who falls for the
ambitious Sofie (Mary B. Ward), the only student in his class that
respects him. The young lecturer is obsessed with Dostoievsky
and is told by his socially-awkward colleague, Henry (Matt
Malloy), that 'you can't beat up students because
they don't like Dostoievsky.'
Jude runs with the notion that 'in our
ignorance we find our bliss,' and corners Sofie in the book store,
where he browses all day and she works, to tell her that she's a better
student than he's a teacher.
In this oddball delight, Jude nails his
student but still comes up empty, as he lives by the slogan 'Knowing is
There are a number of memorable absurd
moments, that include the professor and two other passers-by in the
street doing a lively dance number without music and a homeless street
panhandler (Merritt Nelson) not asking
for money but for any man that approaches to marry her.
It was a fun film, enjoyable from beginning
to end, as the professor breaks down love as he would a novel.
REVIEWED ON 5/30/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ