"It`s a gentle story of someone being brought in from the cold."
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
"It advocates risk and consciousness in tandem as the only means to overcome the cold, repressive hand of so-called normative thought."
Donna Deitch’s swooning and sensual first film, DESERT HEARTS, was groundbreaking upon its 1986 release: 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.
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
Funding was provided by the Criterion Collection, Janus Films, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, and the Sundance Institute.