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Playing Cat And Mouse In 'Desierto'


Jonas Cuaron and Gael Garcia Bernal pair up for border thriller

Gael Garcia Bernal And Jonas Cuaron Talk About 'Desierto'
Playing Cat And Mouse In 'Desierto'
GUESTS: Gael Garcia Bernal, 'Desierto' actor Jonas Cuaron, 'Desierto' filmmaker Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

"Desierto," playing exclusively at AMC Palm Promenade, serves up Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a cat and mouse thriller at the border.


"Desierto" looks to a border story but within the context of a genre film that pits two characters against each other in the desert. Writer/director Jonas Cuaron began working on "Desierto" 10 years ago because he wanted to make a film about migration and to show the extremes that can result from political discussion that focuses on hate.

"This rhetoric of hatred that keeps being promoted in society, this hatred toward foreigners, migrants, it would be interesting to do it through a genre film, a horror movie," Cuaron said.

In the film, Gael Garcia Bernal plays a man trying to cross the border to return to his family in California. But a routine border crossing quickly turns violent when a man (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) decides to kill anyone who crosses "his" border illegally.

"Jeffrey’s character, whatever amalgam of justifications, mythology he has to justify his actions, at the end of the day what happens is he’s not seeing the other people as humans," Bernal said.

"Desierto" (rated R for strong violence and language) uses genre trappings to pull viewers into a tense story that Cuaron said has its roots in films such as "Duel." He said genre films don't work on the viewer's intellect but rather their emotions so that any social message may sneak up on them.

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