Surviving Desire

1992

Comedy / Drama / Romance

0
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 1461

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 08, 2021 at 06:39 PM

Director

Cast

Matt Malloy as Henry
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
512.32 MB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
12 hr 55 min
P/S counting...
951.39 MB
1472*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
12 hr 55 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by J-55 10 / 10

A small piece of perfection.

Surviving desire was made for American Television and is only about an hour long. Despite the limited running time, Hal Hartley has produced in this film his best work. Using his trademark non-naturalistic dialogue and intellectualism, Hartley builds odd, but very believable characters. This is a touching film, expertly made and contains Martin Donovan's finest performance as the frustrated Jude. Matt Malloy is also fantastic as Henry. The mixture of high art, the emotional, the bizarre and the mundane make this often ignored opus a must see for anyone interested in cinema. An understated and ever-fresh film full of brilliance. Not the best film ever made, but absolutely one of my favourites.

Reviewed by loganx-2 10 / 10

Live Through This

Surviving Desire is an early effort from American independent filmmaker Hal Hatrley who is one of the best kept secrets of the 90's. This film which oozes with Gen X style, is the story of an eccentric college professor, played by Hartley muse Martin Donovon, who has spent several weeks going over the same paragraph from a Dostevsky novel, much to the chagrin and outrage of his literature class.

The students call the professor a crank, fraud, a pretentious buffoon etc, but he remains trance-like and unmoved in his obsession to get down to what those few old Russian words really mean. One of his students, who is the classic short haired impish beauty you might find a Godard movie, named Sophia ("Greek for wisdom" a friend tells Donovan), finds him more sweet and naive than worldly and authoritative. The professor feels the attraction sucking his life in, before the two exchange words outside of the classroom. The pull of attraction between the two is more riptide they are pulled away in than an act of will from either parties.

Donovan debates the merits of love, sex, and desire with a colleague who at the beginning of the film we are informed was fired from his position at the university, but is emotionally unscathed picking up at the campus bookstore the next day, and a series of odd jobs as the film goes on, each a little odder than the next. Donovan's friends nonchalance at life, is opposite his own obsession with a single paragraph and a single young Sophia.

The film is just under an hour and the short run time serves the thin story well, never inflating itself with pointless sub-plots or meaningless scenes. The thrifty editing which divides the film up into neat vignettes is one of Hartley stronger gifts, and it is closely linked to his sense of deadpan humor and comic timing.

I imagine that reading a script for this film, would be a terrible chore, full of "talky" philosophical back and forth like Howard Hawks doing early Richard Linklater, or Woody Allen doing early Godard, but the style of dialog is put forth which such self confidence, the emotions behind the dialog ring true, even as the delivery effaces them in ironic detachment. For the three Hartley films I've seen so far "Trust", "The Book Of Life" and this, the ironic deadpan which coats the performers in Bressonian stillness, is an armor his characters generate to hide the embarrassingly simple (or so they seem to imagine it) wants and desires of being loved, and being truthful (even if it's just to "thine own self").

Musically Hartley sticks to his trademark alternative guitar snarls as punctuation (music he was at this point in his career writing and performing himself), but here he also branches out into a unexpected and contradictory as it sounds a silent-musical number (weirdly you feel as if you can almost hear what the characters are dancing too).

"Surviving Desire" has an understated wit, intelligence, punky defiance, and collegiate malaise that is part and parcel of smart hip indie flicks, but also is not above indulging in the slapstick and fast talk of American comedy classics. "Surviving Desire" has a heart, a brain, courage, and a sense of personality though in many ways it uses most of the same techniques as "Trust" they are all working in perfect balance and symmetry.

Though this is less accessible than "Trust" arguable Hartley's finest feature, the metaphorical nature of the professor seeking the young girl, and the professor seeking wisdom, and deciding to try to win them both, all the while knowing they can only be transient, is about as good a combo of date movie and philosophical allegory as you're likely to find from any other directors mentioned above (though Charlie Kaufman seems to have inherited this torch). The final words on the chalk board, sum up the films themes that play on the meaning of the name Sophia, and stand as romantic opposition to Bergman's existential musings in "The Seventh Seal's" when Antonious Block says that "Faith is not enough. I want knowledge." By the end of the film I was feeling as romantic about the Fuastian search for knowledge as I was melancholy about Sissyphus like world of modern dating, which is to say I liked the film because I identified with it. Another line from "The Seventh Seal" , which seems more appropriate after one has watched or is literally "Surviving Desire" in their own lives, "Love is the blackest plague, but you don't even die of it and usually it passes". That is also exactly the kind of line Martin Donovan would be likely to say after sipping a coffee or taking a drag of a cigarette; expressionless as a corpse.

Reviewed by SKallas 10 / 10

Probably his best work

For me this one stands out of other work I have seen from Hal Hartley to date (5 films including Trust but not including Unbelievable Truth). This one left a much warmer feeling inside me than his other films. It had less black humour in it, but the characters were more open, warmer, became closer somehow.

Its actually surprising that I liked this film that much as after finding Hal for myself, I have watched 5 cassettes worth of his films in a few weeks timeframe (one of them contains 3 of his short films including this one). I was actually afraid that I might get bored of his style, his means of presenting a story and characters, as the means, style change only a little from film to film. He has so many "trademarks" about his filmmaking.

I needn't have been afraid. I can feel this one.

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