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Seeking for Love and Answers at the End of the World

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By Roger Costa

PRIVATE DESERT

It’s hard to ignore the strength of desire and the power of love; even when things don’t go as one expects, the unpredictable sense of “falling in love” can surpass any symptom of hopeless, sorrow or desperation. In some cases, when love arrives, it is totally able to blind or cover up an obstacle, opening the windows of hope, as one can go till the end of the world to reach the soulmate. That’s exactly what the protagonist does in Aly Muritiba’s Venice award-winning sensitive, compelling drama.

A suspended police officer who is dealing with a series of impairments spends his days waiting for his trial (he has severely beaten a recruit who is now in a coma) while home caring for his elderly, dementia-diagnosed father. His only console and entertainment is chatting online with a mysterious, gorgeous woman with whom he develops an intensely co-dependent relationship. When the woman stops replying his messages, and goes missing, he drops out everything and sets foot on the road, travelling across the country, from the South to the Northeast of Brazil, in order to find her and solve the love lust puzzle.

Gorgeously shot with an impressively delicate tone, deeply moving and provocative, celebrated Bahia-born filmmaker Muritiba extracts powerful performances from the entire cast, especially Antonio Saboia (“Bacurau”) as Daniel, our much in-love anti-hero who goes on an unlikely road trip that could change his life forever. He delivers a courageous and absorbing performance as the troubled official, creating an immediate emotional connection with the audience, as we fall for his reckless feelings and drastic loneliness. Opposite him, there’s newcomer actor Pedro Fasanaro, making his feature-length debut, a key role to the narrative, and demonstrates impressive control of his ambiguous character: he is a revelation that deserves awards attention.

The film is also very efficient with its social, economic and ethnic commentaries: it constantly makes important remarks on the differences between Brazilian classes, regional habits, the pleasures of the privileged and the struggle of the minorities. But mostly, Muritiba is interested in digging all the possibilities of this complex, unexpected love story, in order to provide his characters the complete emotional satisfaction they’ve been searching for. Who doesn’t dream of an intense love affair?

Brazil’s official selection for the Oscars 2022 for Best International Film is one of the most profound, delicate and timely romances recently made in Latin Cinema history. One unique drama that explores the dilemmas of masculinity and sexuality in modern society, and firmly casts Muritiba as a major cinematic voice ready to claim his spot under the sun.

(DESERTO PARTICULAR-PRIVATE DESERT will screen Saturday, November 20th at 7pm at Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, New York City. After the screening, Director Aly Muritiba will participate on a Live Conversation with the audience. Visit www.movingimage.us for tickets and details.)


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