Since the release of the great thriller to my dead beloved (2015) that the Bahia-Curitibano Aly Muritiba has been proving to be an increasingly productive and restless filmmaker. be later at the cinema with Rust (2018) e us for us (2018), or even on TV and other streaming services when getting hits jailers (2018) e The Evandro Case (2021). This year alone, in addition to the aforementioned Globoplay documentary series, Muritiba presents two new features: the stylish comedy Jesus Kid and what is perhaps the best movie of his career so far, private desert. After receiving ovations in Italy during the Venice Film Festival and winning several awards around the world, the production was selected by the Brazilian Academy of Cinema and Visual Arts to represent Brazil at the Oscar 2022 in the Best International Film category.
At this point, the most obvious type of question that comes up and is repeated is whether private desert it will even meet expectations, something that always bumps into the margin of private perception, above all because of the moral values and social concepts that we carry and absorb throughout life. However, even if the present considerations are contrary for some, it is practically impossible to remain indifferent to what the work discusses with great respect and sensitivity. There is no way, no matter how everyday, human relationships fascinate and naturally arouse the individual’s interest, mainly because our souls are fed by experiences. And when we are faced with atypical situations within what society has built as a rule, what many call an error in the Matrix happens.
Produced for six years and filmed in two states, the plot initially appears to be simplistic when it brings the routine of Curitibano Daniel (Antonio Saboia), son of a retired ex-military man who suffers from Alzheimer’s and needs comprehensive care. Daniel was also a respected police officer, but was removed from the corporation for extrapolating in violence and leaving a boy in a coma, now having to take turns between doing odd jobs and taking care of his father. This day-to-day life transforms the subject’s life into a void that is only filled when he corresponds with Sara, his virtual passion who lives in the interior of Bahia. Daniel has never seen her in person, but he is madly in love. Everything changes when Sara discovers the police incident and stops responding to her lover’s messages, leaving Daniel in total despair. Without thinking too much, he leaves alone on a road trip from the south to the northeast and, in the place, something absolutely unusual happens and everything changes completely.
And it changes for real, including the entire structure and atmosphere, because, from then on, the film that was once a drama becomes an intense, painful and forbidden love story. Sara ends up becoming the main protagonist of the film and the small town of Sobradinho serves as a kind of microcosm that reflects an underdeveloped Brazil, which insists on evolving both from an economic and social point of view. It is necessary to understand that every first act basically has the function of humanizing the figure of Daniel and demonstrating its nuances. We see that the man capable of spanking someone is also the same man who takes care of his father and tries to be the cautious older brother – even though he always exhibits a latent prejudice when he disapproves of his sister’s homo-affective relationship, leaving no room even for dialogue.
As well as the second half serves to get to know in depth Sara’s life and worldview – and here I advise you about the possible spoiler that can take some of the impact of Particular Desert, because if you don’t want to know, go to the next paragraph. In short, Sara is actually played by the young actor Pedro Fasanaro who surrenders completely and builds a three-dimensional figure that is physical and sentimental. Punctual and also detailed text output of the Aly Muritiba, Sara is not the typical archetype of a transsexual person who has come from a raw interior dominated by church law. During the day, Sara becomes Robson, a guy who does physical work and fits in, naturally, among his teammates. But without ever losing its essence or denying what he feels, he is a fascinating character in many ways, especially when he exposes to Daniel what he thinks and learned about the course of life. In fact, the parallel created between Sara’s life and a water reservoir that, at any moment, could break and reach the sea is the kind of balcony that borders on excellence and makes Muritiba’s script gain even more points and contours. .
Aesthetically distant from southern productions, private desert he is not afraid of being dirty amidst all the aridity of Juazeiro in Bahia. It collects several open planes and prides itself on the natural setting that displays, like a true gallery of paintings, landscapes that perfectly match the dilemma addressed. In fact, the film separates one of the most beautiful and striking movements that national cinematography has produced recently, when Daniel and Sara dance together to the sound of Bonnie Tyler and your classic cheesy Total Eclipse of the Heart, song that emerges with the strength and class of a poetry written by Pablo Neruda. You’ll hardly forget it after checking out the scene in question, especially when the director manages to create a narrative rhyme that connects to the end credits, and which also has to do with the idea of the river flowing into the sea. An exquisite work that puts Aly Muritiba among the most interesting contemporary filmmakers in the Brazilian scene.
Text originally published during Cine PE 2021 festival coverage.