Film POP & DeuXX present:
Director: Donna Deitch
«She just reached in and put a string of lights around my heart.»
Donna Deitch’s debut feature Desert Hearts, based on Jane Rule’s 1964 novel of the same name, was a groundbreaking yet all-too simple first: a tender love story between two women, also produced and directed by a woman. In 1959, East Coast professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno to file for divorce and catches the eye of Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), a younger woman. Never sensationalizing, punishingly tragic or voyeuristic, the film is instead refreshingly candid, affectionate and sensual; beautifully shot by Robert Elswit (DOP of There Will Be Blood and Inherent Vice) in the pastel palette of a sun-kissed desert dawn and the many neon-lit highway bars of Nevada. Featuring a soundtrack of greats (Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, etc.), Desert Hearts remains one of American cinema’s most important LGBTQ films, and screens here, beautifully restored by The Criterion Collection (Janus Films) and the UCLA Film & Television Archive in conjunction with Outfest and the Sundance Institute.