All I Desire (1953) by Douglas Sirk

Sunday, December 20, 1987, 8:00 pm

Memory, Desire, and Loss — Visions of Small-Town America

Sirk’s All I Desire and Conner’s Valse Triste & Take the 5:10 to Dreamland


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

“Out of such different material as ‘50s melodrama and found footage montage, Douglas Sirk and Bruce Conner fashion unique visions of American ideals and images and the darker realities beneath them. In All I Desire, Barbara Stanwyck plays a second-rate actress who returns to her family and the town she had left years before. There she is confronted with another kind of theater, small-town acting. Sirk’s split world of mirrors and reflections (portrayed in a mise-en-scene shot through glass doorways, flowers and mirrors) shows desire and lurid emotions hidden behind the veneer of ‘50s family and social life. In Valse Triste Conner evokes a world in many ways similar to Sirk’s, his ’50s found footage echoing the cherished ideals of home, but with pained, ironic distance. Take the 5:10 To Dreamland shows another kind of return — to an elemental, mysterious world where found objects are transformed in a play of perceptual alchemy.” (P.H.) Tonight’s is the second in a series of programs selected by local filmmaker Peter Herwitz.