Part of Staff Picks, and programmed by Tiffany, who says:
"Watching DESERT HEARTS has often been a right of passage. It's been held up by gay women over the decades, who continued to pass it along to younger women, as a gift from the past, telling a story about a future that is possible."
Donna Deitch’s swooning and sensual first film, DESERT HEARTS, was groundbreaking when released in 1986: a love story about two women, produced and directed by a woman. In the 1959-set film, an adaptation of a beloved novel by Jane Rule, straitlaced East Coast professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno to file for divorce, but winds up catching the eye of someone new, the younger free spirit Cay (Patricia Charbonneau)—touching off a slow seduction that unfolds against the breathtaking desert landscape. With smoldering chemistry between its two leads, an evocative jukebox soundtrack, and vivid cinematography by Robert Elswit, DESERT HEARTS beautifully exudes a sense of tender yearning and emotional candor.
About the Restoration: DESERT HEARTS has been digitally restored by the Criterion Collection, Janus Films, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive in conjunction with Outfest and the Sundance Institute. Funding was provided by the Criterion Collection, Janus Films, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, and the Sundance Institute.
“Utterly timeless. Not only was Donna Deitch’s groundbreaking film directed and produced by a woman, but it was the first film to show two women have a romance onscreen that didn’t result in their deaths...The period details and sweeping Nevada landscape make the film as visually stunning as it is emotionally. It’s no wonder the film looks so good: It was one of the first features shot by Robert Elswit, the Oscar-winning cinematographer of THERE WILL BE BLOOD.” —Jude Dry, Indiewire
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