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Private Desert

(2022) *** Unrated
121 min. Strand Releasing. Director: Aly Muritiba. Cast: Antonio Saboia, Pedro Fasanaro.

/content/films/5254/1.jpgAly Muritiba's Private Desert (co-written by Henrique Dos Santos) spins an interesting premise for a queer romance, one that teases out ambiguities involving online and/or long-distance relationships and the complications of gender identity. That's as much as I'll say about the specifics of the romance itself, the unfolding of which is the Brazilian drama's languorous pleasure. Antonio Saboia plays a policeman sidelined and under investigation for an act of violence. Leaving his elderly father's care in the hands of a sibling, the policeman escapes to the desert in search of his online-only paramour (Pedro Fasanaro). There's an element of mystery until the screenwriters merge the separate dramas of the two men and force dramatic changes in their lives. Suffused with melancholy (the film’s theme is Bonnie Tyler’s exquisitely melodramatic pop aria “Total Eclipse of the Heart”), Private Desert may be on the slight side, but it's more interested in the poetry of its story than an in-depth character study.

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