A special desert, a fascinating love story

in the mythical a game of tears (Neil Jordan, 1992) we saw the unusual love story between an IRA member and the girlfriend of the boy he kidnapped and ended up dead. In his most famous scene, the protagonist (Stephen Rea) and the audience discover that she is actually him. Transsexuality was hardly talked about at the time, and Jordan’s film caused rivers of ink for its daring approach to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

thirty years later, the cause of transgender people dominates public debate and cinema resonates with a greater emphasis than ever on their plight. Last week, without further ado, a remarkable film like my emptiness and meby Adrian Silvestre, in which the emphasis is very strong on the main character’s difficulties in being accepted and having a normal life.

private deserta magnificent film directed by Ali Muritiba (Bahia, 1979) is much closer to Jordan’s film than Sylvester’s. Transsexuality is not so much the “topic” as the context and fiction allows the director to reach areas of immense complexity for the human soul.

The loneliness of the police

the main character of private desert is Daniel (Antonio Saboia), a slack-jawed cop recently removed as an instructor at the vigilante academy. In a fit of rage or because of an evil personality, the man lost his temper and ended up beating one of his students.

Daniel is a man in his forties, good looking but with a lonely life. scarred by the care of her sick father, a former policeman. The old man can barely stand up, but we assume he was a powerful man whose bad character deeply scarred his son.

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Ambushed by a mistake that could cost him his career, the policeman finds solace only in Sara, a young woman he met on the Internet, with whom he has long conversations on WhatsApp. When Sarah stops responding to his messages, the guy travels across the country to look for her in her town.a remote place marked by poverty and extreme Puritan religiosity.

The other side of the coin is Robson (Pedro Fasanaro), a lowly job kid who turns into Sarah whenever he wants. In search of his lost love, the police officer is of course unaware that his love is a man, although gender identities are blurred in this film.

country on fire

Just as transsexuality is not the subject of the film, neither is the Brazilian president, Bolsonaro, although his shadow runs throughout the film. The audacity of the film is to put ourselves from the point of view not of one of the countless victims of police violence in Brazil, but precisely of a brutal policeman, this disoriented Daniel, who does not know whether to feel guilty for the damage caused or freed because of his mistake it may also free him from what we suppose to be a family imposition which he was too weak to resist.


The problem here is not that Daniel is a cruel person, but that he developed as a human being in an environment of extreme violence that ultimately darkened his soul. The character, however shady, ultimately evokes not our outrage but our compassion because he himself suffers from structural violence on a much larger scale, which ultimately turns the victim into an executioner and destroys him morally.

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In front of Daniel the Robson/Sarah character acts as her mirror. One suffers without knowing why, the other knows very well the reason and that is his strength. The oppression of the young man is obvious, crystal clear, and that of the policeman is much more subtle, but just as terrifying.

The director is right not to present his film in political terms or launch speeches about the genre, but rather sensitively reflect the way two wounded souls achieve, if not healing, at least mutual encouragementto start a new opportunity.

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