Sunday, July 1, 2007

Desert Hearts

Beloved and I finally celebrated our anniversary last night. The original restaurant was inexplicably closed, and so we made our way to another Mexican place, one I actually like better... it has the feel of a real cantina (not that I actually know anything about authentic cantinas... but I really do love the atmosphere of this place).

We ordered Margaritas and our meals and reminisced... It was really lovely, just what we both needed. Then we went home and watched Desert Hearts, the 1986 film about a [female] Columbia professor who goes to Reno, Nevada in 1959 to get a divorce, and winds up meeting and falling in love with another woman. I had seen the film years ago, when it first came out, and I was terrified by films depicting lesbians because, well, I just was. I remember cyring hysterically after seeing The Hunger, that vampire/lesbian cult classic with Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve. Everyone I was with assumed I was crying because I was freaked out by the vampires (David Bowie was never so perfectly cast). But that's not why I was crying. I was crying because I was so stirred by the lovemaking scenes between Deneuve and Sarandon. I was a newlywed, and I knew that, Houston, we had a problem.

Anyway, Desert Hearts was another film that terrified me. It hit too close to home. It still does. When the protagonist, Vivian, realizes how she feels about Cay, she is immediately confronted with her own terror about people knowing. She fears losing her job, she fears becoming a pariah at the university, in academia, etc. She can't envision a way forward. At one point Cay does something (I can't remember what, perhaps she gives her a kiss or takes her hand in a public place?) that causes Vivian to recoil, to say something along the lines of "What are you trying to prove?" Cay's response is haunting:

"I'm not doing this to try and change the world. I'm doing this so that the world won't change me."


Anonymous said...

Ah, yes....Desert Hearts.

Another film you should see is "Late Bloomers". It's about two middle aged women. One is the highschool girl's basketball coach. THe other is the wife of the math teacher. They fall in love, the wife leaves the math teacher for the coach, and uproar ensues. It's quirky, charming, the ending is fun if implausible, and there is a great scene of these two decidedly middle aged ladies playing basketball naked ....


Jan said...

I'm glad you celebrated your anniversary. Thank you for sharing. Love is painfully sweet.

Cecilia said...

I've just gone to Amazon and ordered it... thanks IT!

Do you have a blog? I always enjoy your comments.

Pax, C.

Anonymous said...

Oh good, I am sure you and Beloved will enjoy it!

Thanks for the kind words. I don't have a blog. I spend way too much time as it is commenting on others', instead of doing my actual job.

(which is biomedical research scientist and college professor).


RevDrKate said...

Happy Anniversary. Loved your first date story, too.

Muthah+ said...

yep, it was The Fox, for me. Still can't get those scenes out of my mind--not that I would want to.

Anonymous said...

hmm. Just got a Wolfe video catalog in the mail - too many choices, too little time.


sharecropper said...

Glad you got to celebrate in a way that was joyful.

We tried to watch Desert Hearts, and I think we quit before we got to the good part. It had a very slow beginning.

Anonymous said...

I think you have to watch Desert hearts with a distinct sense of the pace of life in the desert. When it's searingly hot and just moving is painful.

But I think late bloomers is more fun. Based on how many times we watch films, definitely we ahve watched LB more than DH.


Diane M. Roth said...

I recall that movie ... my movie buff sister recommended it.

also, the closing statement is true about so many things... "so that the world won't change us."

Anonymous said...

PS NancyP, I hope you will find someone to watch these movies with you. ;-)

Meanwhile, either DP or LB are good for your collection and they both deal with coming out to oneself as well as others. I think you will like them.


Anonymous said...

Tipping the Velvet (BBC production) is entertaining, with a very appealing protagonist. Recommended if you like period pieces. I am a bit of a Victoriana person (hey, I am a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta fan), so natch I'd check it out.


jsd said...

You may want to join netflix. I used to buy my GLBT films too, but it gets expensive. My partner and I got really excited about the all the choices; they've a huge selection of movies, and with the way the DVD is packaged no one will know what you ordered.

I can hear so much of who I was in some of your posts, what it was like living as a straight married woman when you know that's not what you are.