DESIERTO is a film that is sincere. He would like to pass a message about the world situation, on the reality of immigration. But already, this message does not frontally. If it is actually a history of mexicans seeking to pass on the american soil, the heart of the film is the hunt of men by another (with his dog). There was actually a message, but the film is so much built around the tension that the lives, characters, story, message, and many other things disappear completely behind. And then, like a certain Gravity, also it was written by Jonás Cuarón, there’s this treatment of the narrative that tries to find a consistency around a few reasons for audio-visual highlights, but also very rude. However, without a mise en scene powerful as that of dad (Alfonso Cuarón), DESIERTO is only a effective film for a lawsuit. Nothing more (or almost)
Specifically, this film pursuit is lacking in a first time, too much empathy to really work – besides his violence that she, at least, shocking. Jonás Cuarón moves her characters into a sentence-an action not most of us, including the hero, played by Gael Garcia Bernal which we will know nothing more except that he has a son and that he is vaguely mechanic. Altruism is ultimately his only character trait obvious… But knowing that a character to help another in case of danger is only functional, not emotional. Nothing in this introduction, we do not attach to a person. With this logic, the bad guy is finally the one which appears to us the more sympathetic; we see a relationship (with her dog), it is served by a few lines of dialogue and an exchange (with a cop), or the humor and cynicism is high. This is problematic, as it is enough to modify the center of the story, and to destabilize it. It is disturbing when the first shooting, to have more attraction for the hunter as its prey. If this can away, return the image of a ethnocentrism of american coupled with a dehumanization of the foreigner, cinematically it doesn’t work because the DESIERTO lies in the end, entirely on its tension and suspense. Off without empathy, or is the suspense ?
All the more that this tension ONLY exists because of the imbalance of the fight. The american, with his rifle and his dog is a true nemesis, indestructible, against which the leak is the ONLY option. Each of its appearances, that it is sound, visual, or without any preliminaries, directly lethal, provokes only one reaction: fear. If it keeps the attention, the problem of the lack of empathy prevents them from having fear for the mexicans more afraid of the american. In my opinion, it is really a pity to miss the balance, and even more to make it negative, even if it is without a doubt my education Spielberg-ienna who speaks here.
Jonás Cuarón imposes on us in spite of everything, in spite of this imbalance is related to the lack of empathy, a terrific state of tension. If Gravity had the staged air (or rather anti-gravitational) d’Alfonso Cuarón to show the same kind of anguish in the face of the unpredictable, here it is only the use of the geography of the desert that is the strength of the film to justify the title. The camera is only filming. The editing adds a bit of tension… But in the end, it is this fantastic use of space that makes the film: it is a trap open to the sky (pigeon shooting), a trap tightened (the canyon), or a mousetrap (cactus forest), Jonás Cuarón exploits the specificities of its setting to maintain the tension, and rhythm.
“DESIERTO”, a effective film of prosecution built almost solely on its voltage and the operating smart decor, the desert”
I will still take a good hour for him to see the DESIERTO as it seems to me to be: a pure film of tension. There is thus a moment in the middle of the film (the end of the scene of the canyon) that replace finally these issues, reminding the viewer that he is ONLY there to see a hunt, nothing more. It is from this moment that I was able to find pleasure to see the film, and I could be closer to my references of the genre – such Duel, or Wolf Creek 2 – instead of identifying what was not working. Some of the scenes were then gradually increased in intensity, until the challenging but relevant pursuit final – or the hero will, by lack of other choice, to stop flee in order to finally act. This scene liberating give, retrospectively, a little political sense to the film, as a phantasmagoria of the country to take its fate in hand, rather than trying to flee her chaotic situation. In Fine.
DESIERTO was awarded the jury prize at the festival of the detective movie Beaune, edition 2016.
Reviewed in partnership with CanalSat and 13èmerue; we were able to interview Jonás Cuarón in order to expand this article.
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• Original title : Desierto
• Achievement : Jonás Cuarón
• Screenplay : Jonás Cuarón
• Main actors : Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hidalgo
• Country of origin : Mexico, France
• Released : April 13, 2016
• Duration : 1h34min
• Distributor : Original Version / Condor
• Synopsis : Sonoran Desert, Southern California. At the heart of the scopes hostile, led by the father of a family determined, a group of mexicans is progressing towards freedom. The heat, the snakes and the vastness of the exhaust and overwhelm them… Suddenly bullets begin to whistle. We are trying to shoot them down, one at a time.