Desert Hearts • 1h 31m
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 Desert Hearts
DESERT HEARTS Commentary
The following commentary features director Donna Deitch and was recorded in 2007.
Donna Deitch and Jane Lynch on DESERT...
Wanting to make a film about a lesbian relationship that didn’t end in tragedy, director Donna Deitch spent five years working on DESERT HEARTS. Its release in 1985 was a landmark moment in queer cinema. In this conversation, recorded in Los Angeles in 2017, Deitch and actor Jane Lynch discuss th...
Women in Love: Patricia Charbonneau a...
DESERT HEARTS depended on the connection between its two lead actors, Patricia Charbonneau and Helen Shaver, and on their trust in director Donna Deitch. In the following program, made in New York in 2017, the actors and the director discuss the making of the film, the close bond they formed, and...