Directed by Donna Deitch • 1985 • United States
Donna Deitch's swooning and sensual first narrative feature, DESERT HEARTS, was groundbreaking upon its release in 1985: a love story about two women, made entirely independently, on a shoestring budget, by a woman. In this 1959-set film, adapted from 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 free-spirited young Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), touching off a slow seduction that unfolds against a breathtaking desert landscape. With undeniable 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.
Up Next in American Independents
Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1995 • United States
With DEAD MAN, his first period piece, Jim Jarmusch imagined the nineteenth-century American West as an existential wasteland, delivering a surreal reckoning with the ravages of industrialization, the country's legacy of violence and prejudice, a...
Paris Is Burning
Directed by Jennie Livingston • 1990 • United States
Starring Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Angie Xtravaganza
Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African America...
Directed by Kathleen Collins • 1982 • United States
Starring Seret Scott, Bill Gunn, Duane Jones
One of the first feature films directed by an African American woman, Kathleen Collins’s LOSING GROUND tells the story of a marriage between two remarkable people, both at a crossroads in their lives...