The Desert Within

The Desert Within

(Desierto adentro)
Rodrigo Plá / MEX, 2008
Spanish version / Czech and English subtitles, 112 min

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Elías has committed a sin against God and he fears he will be punished. He is convinced that God’s wrath will manifest itself in the premature death of his eight children. In order to change his family’s destiny and earn God’s forgiveness, he chooses to live in seclusion and dedicates his life to the construction of a church… The story is told through the eyes of Elías’s youngest and most vulnerable son Aureliano, who portrays the family saga in religious paintings. Yet it is Elías’s mistakes which change the course of events, not God’s vengeance. At least some of his children begin to realise that their father blames God for his inability to forgive others and, above all, himself... The director was initially prompted to make the film after discovering the diaries of the philosopher Sören Kierkegaard, who describes his fear of being condemned to a premature death by his father. Events unfolding during the 20th century helped the filmmaker to transfer the story from a Protestant environment to a Catholic and Mexican setting, and, in a historical context, to portray a film image of irrational religious insanity. The film closed International Critics’ Week at Cannes this year.

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