Desierto: Immigration Thriller, Feature Debut of Jonas Cuaron (Alfonso’s S0n)

The L.A. Film Festival closed out its 22nd edition with the U.S. premiere of Jonas Cuaron‘s taut and timely immigration  thriller, Desierto.

“I did the film to have the audience on the edge of their seats from beginning to end,” Cuaron said while introducing the film.

Jonas began working in 2008 on the story about illegal Mexican immigrants, led by Gael Garcia Bernal’s character, in the desert north of the border due to a rifle-toting vigilante. He then teamed with his father Alfonso for the “Gravity” script before turning back to “Desierto.”

Jonas Cuaron

His father Alfonso said he was still struck by the contrast in terms of the amount of verbiage in each movie: Unlike ‘Gravity,’ which is very driven by dialogue, he decided to strip it of dialogue so it’s very visceral.  If there’s too much dialogue, there’s no room for poetry.”

The younger Cuaron noted that the location was essential:“I scouted deserts for two years — Almeria, Anza-Borrego, the Mojave — but southern Baja California worked best.”

STX Entertainment, which acquired the U.S. rights following its world premiere at the Toronto Film Fest,  decided to launch the film on October 14, three weeks before a presidential election in which Republican nominee Donald Trump has vowed to stop illegal immigration.

Carlos Cuaron, an uncle of Jonas and a producer on the film, said that the election-season date makes sense: “My first reaction five years ago when I read the script was that here was an action story with a real social conscience.”