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on February 7, 2000
This was the third Hartley film I saw & has remained my favourite. For me it holds all the quintessential characteristics of a Hartley film despite it not being feature length.Martin Donovan as usual gives a flawless performance as do the rest of the cast. Things to look out for......the bartender & the'dance routine'. GENIUS!
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on February 12, 1999
I first saw Surviving Desire when I was 15. It was on the local PBS and the whole world stopped. I called the TV station to see what it was that I has watched. When they told me, I immediately wanted to buy it. I searched for 6 years. No one new what I was talking about, much less who Michael Donovan was, and my searches always remained fruitless. Surviving Desire changed my views on movies as a whole. When I saw it, I realized there was no excuse for crappy movies. The relationships between characters was so intimate in a very sterile way. I suggest all persons interested in fine cinema, who have a love for indie films and can appreciate something non-mainstream NEED to see this movie!
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on January 28, 2000
i first saw "surviving desire" in ART SCHOOL--rented from an obscure video store, of course. i had seen "theory of achievement" & "ambition" on 'live from off center'--a PBS programme--and fell in love with hal hartley's smart, stylistic take on the essential: love, work, trouble, desire & conversation. weaving together disperate imagery & ideas, hartley's world explores the equation of sex & relationships: love is an act, faith is an ability. love without faith is merely infatuation. with brilliantly deadpan performances by martin donovan, mary b. ward, matt malloy, & rebecca nelson "surving desire" gives the intellectual viewer what they want: a tragedy WITHOUT a happy ending--something we can ALL relate to...
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on May 29, 2002
"Survivng Desire", along with the three shorts are some of Hartley's earliest work. But even at this early stage, Harley's gifts are clearly visable. I first saw the shorts some years ago as part of the PBS series "Alive from Off Center" and was mesmerized. Hal Hartley is one of America's truly great directors and his ability to pull such engaging performances out of his cast is a complete pleasure to watch. His style of film making probably most closesly resembles that of Robert Bresson, in its setup and excecution. But Hartley's point of view is totally original and for that, every one of his films has been a completely rewarding experience...
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on February 2, 2003
Poets with an appreciation for life above the poverty line wisely select more frequented media like music, movies, or monology as their vehicle. The life of the most celebrated poets are still awash in Ramen and rent. Hartley's films are dense with pause-rewind-replay a line dialogue almost to a fault. I used to take myself as seriously as Hartley's roster of misfits sporting designer melancholy personas and crippled by philosphical dilemmas that serve as a nappy gnarled dreadlock for the movie to comb out. I loved Hartley's fims in my 20s. Now 39 I revisit with some wincing but not enough for me to change my mind that this and his other films are filled with true human wisdom and many revelations put into words for any willingly troubled liver of a non-illusion buffered life to intend to jot down but not find a pen within reach.
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on January 16, 1999
The first I watched this film, it created a sensation that could not be matched with other films; Martin Donovan is terrific! Blending a deadpan stylistic along with a creative script, this film is a must!
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on July 20, 2014
Had to have a copy of Hal Hartley's 'Theory Of Achievement' even though only available on VHS tape at the time.
First introduced to Hal Hartley's films by way of the PBS 'Live From Off Center' broadcast.
The short film 'Theory Of Achievement' included on 'Surviving Desire' is a vortex of genius.
Elina Lowensohn is the hipster's Ingrid Bergman.
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on May 24, 2002
It IS all here.
The be-all end-all "relationship" that we are all programmed and taught and "gened" for in a nutshell.
This film shows the "relationship" as it shuns gravity, takes orbit and then spins off into space.
It is just desire that brings us together after all.
Lust, trust, anger, forgiveness, revenge, and the life after it all (the REAL gravity); this piece of art knows its subjects.
you really have to see this to know you've lived it.
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on November 30, 1998
Lost characters in search of love, stuck in a world where love is never the answer. But they can't stop searching. And in the end, the answer is as arbitrary as the wording of the question. Not as dynamic as trust, but the characters' minds are labyrinths in which to lose yourself. And, of course, mirrors are everywhere.
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on May 23, 2006
I just bought and watched Surviving Desire and maybe due to my high expectations I was left a bit disappointed. It was definitely all Hal Hartley and the shorts "Ambition" and "Theory of Achievement" were interesting, but something bothered me about the main feature. It takes itself way too seriously. I love Trust and even The Unbelievable Truth and also Kiss Me, Hold Me - there's a lightness to them PLUS the fantastic insight of Hal Hartley and I am thinking it may have to do with Adrienne Shelley. She is the PERFECT match to Martin Donovan. I just like Andrienne's face. Does anyone know why she stopped doing films?
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