The Desert Bride (2017) | Cannes Film Festival | Un Certain Regard 2017

May 26th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/scr Cecilia Atán & Valeria Pivato. Argentina/Chile. 2017. 78mins.

This painterly portrait of late-life love provides a subtle and gently humorous focus on contemporary Argentina. Atan and Pivato’s feature debut screened in the Cannes auteurs sidebar, Un Certain Regard, and stars Gloria’s Paulina Garcia as a woman in domestic service who gradually takes back the reigns of her single life and opens her heart to love. The desert road movie serves both as a voyage of self-realisation and female empowerment. Bearing its heart on its delicate sleeve the film interweaves the past and present and is graced by sumptuous cinematography from NO and NERUDA’s Sergio Lawrence. It’s a sweet slip of a film and utterly adorable.

Teresa is leaving her current home for a spell in San Juan in the desert region of Cuyo. Getting there involves a laborious bus journey where the vehicle breaks down leaving Teresa in the pilgrimage town of La Difunta. Here she comes across a kindly market trader in the shape of Gringo (Claudio Rossi). A storm imterupts their innocent encounter but Teresa realises her bag has been left in his trailer. After caching him up they embark on a mission to find the missing luggage as Teresa gradually warms to Gringo’s kindness and easy-going bonhomie: something she could get used to.

Garcia’s portrayal of Teresa’s understated emotional awakening is one of the pleasures of this pastel-hued slow-burner, providing a filmic focus on first love in the autumn of life. MT


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