Desierto Sur: A Wish Fulfilled

A mother’s death, an unexpected last wish and a daunting journey fall together to form the complicated challenge that faces the Spanish protagonist Sofia in the 2008 film Desierto Sur.

Santiago Chile Desierto Sur
Photo courtesy Desierto Sur

Soon after the death of her mother, Sofia (Marta Etura) receives a letter explaining that her mother wants her ashes scattered in a place called Desierto Sur ("Desert South") in northern Chile, where the memories of a former love still remain.

Santiago Chile Desierto Sur
Photo courtesy Desierto Sur

Without hesitation, Sofia hops on the first plane from Barcelona to Santiago in search of the mysterious town and almost immediately finds herself involved in the shenanigans of her punk-rock, kleptomaniac sidekick Nadia (Carolina Varleta) who promises to help her find her destination.

To further complicate the situation, Gustavo (Alejandro Botto), Sofia’s love interest and third member of the traveling trio, turns out to be a shady drug dealer on a mission for a dangerous delivery. Despite the obstacles she has to face, her persistence and sheer determination pay off, and she is able to fulfill her mother’s dying wish.

Santiago Chile Desierto Sur
Photo courtesy Desierto Sur

The award-winning Desierto Sur directed by Shawn Garry offers interesting cinematographic aspects, including the use of water as an intriguing contradiction to the dry desert backdrop of the rest of the movie. Garry shows the internal struggles of Sofia, a swimmer, physically represented by frequent images of her struggling underwater interjected throughout the movie.

Though a somewhat predictable plot line, Garry adds some twists and turns such as an unexpected shootout and a guardian angel-like transvestite prostitute who helps Sofia in her most fragile state. The theme of the film may be familiar, but the added originality makes watching Desierto Sur enjoyable and worthwhile.

With English subtitles, Desierto Sur is playing at Cine Arte Alameda daily at 3 and 7 pm.

Desierto Sur

Daily, 3 and 7 pm

CP$1,900 ($3.80), Wednesdays CP$1,500 ($2.75)

Cine Arte Alameda

Alameda 139

Metro: Baquedano

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