or over again.‘

Some twenty percent of the film‘s final cost of $l,500.()()() was spent obtaining the rights to a soundtrack of country-western music that is used extensively to underline the unfolding emotional drama. Deitch seems content that it was money well spent. ‘I felt that it added to the

supporting ambience. to the time and place of the picture. It‘s a mood thing. I came to the music in the cutting room with the editor and I had been a Patsy Cline fan and liked

‘hard as hell‘

Elvis but I didn‘t know that much about country-western music aside from the most obvious people and I came to be quite a country-western fan in the course of all this.‘

The ironically ambiguous juxtaposition of the macho


country-western scene and a lesbian romance is not one that has escaped her. ‘lfyou decide to use country-western music then your‘re going to be dealing with the themes ofgetting drunk. getting thrown in jail, getting cheated on by your male or female lover. These themes are prevalent throughout country-western music, they go with the scenery and there is that additional sort of macho element attached to it but some of the biggest

country-western have been women 5

Patsy Kline. Kitty Wells. I think Kitty Wells had the first gold record in country-western music with It Wasn ’t God who made Honky Tonk Angels.‘

The music is one contributory element to what Deitch describes as an ‘emotionally explicit‘ film. The story of a lesbian relationship is open to the hazards inherent in depicting

any supposedly controversial subject matter but these are hazards that she has avoided. The film is clear-sighted and candid not exploitative. and achieves the aim that Deitch has set for all her working-life-to ‘find the truth from a character‘.

Her truth-searching began as a stills photographer and, shortly after graduating from college in 1968, she won a photo contest judged by Diane

Arbus. A film graduate of UCLA, where she studied alongside Penelope (Suburbia) Spheeris. her documentaries included The Great Wall ofLos Angeles, about the world‘s longest mural, and Woman to Woman about hookers and housewives. The success of Desert Hearts means that her future plans lie in further feature films. One current project is budgeted at $4-5 million and is another story about

women. She is reluctant to elaborate


Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) and Gay Biwers (Patricia Charbonneau) as the two lovers in Desert Hearts.

further. remaining resolutely cautious about the filmmaking process. ‘I would like to co-produce and direct. I think I‘m good as a producer and I would like to continue to exercise that. It gives you an additional perspective although it can be conflicting. The project I‘m working on is an original idea that’s just at the scriptwriting stage at this moment. It‘s a little premature to talk about it. Ifl were actually shooting it I would tell you about it.‘

Desert Hearts can be seen at the

Edinburgh Filmhouse on September 10,15 and 17-27, and at the Glasgow Film Theatre from October 5 -1 1 . See Cinema Listings for details.

The List 5 18 September 3