Jude, a college literature professor, has found himself completely uninspired when it comes to his work. Recently he has become entranced by a specific paragraph from a Dostevesky novel that he reeatedly discusses in class. While many of his students either fall asleep or find themselves disgusted by a man they deem to be a fraud, Sophia, a relatively kooky student, is fascinated by Jude. The two begin a relationship together, eventually having to deal with the inevitable pain of a doomed love built upon fascination. Hal Hartley's Surviving Desire is an elegant film of poetic beauty that effectively captures the stigmas of a transgenerational relationship, among other things. For those not familiar with Hal Hartley's work, his style takes some getting used to, being almost abrasive due to being so outside the norm of narrative contemporary filmmaking. Surviving Desire for example feels based in this sorta hyper-reality state, where we watch a college professor attempt to deal with his desire. It's philosophical in approach, with long stretches of Surviving Desire revolving around long conversations between its two main protagonists that feel a little too smart to be natural, but it's engrossing none-the-less. I believe one could take a lot out of this film but for me Hartley is commenting on the un-quantifiable power of desire. At barely an hour in length, Hal Hartley has created a deep narrative experience that subtlety touches examines the power and influence of love, lust, sex, and desire.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.