The beautifully sensitive directorial debut of Cecilia Atán and Valeria Pivato, The Desert Bride brings to audiences another astonishing performance from the superb Paulina García, who drew worldwide attention from her starring role in Sebastián Lelio’s multi award-winning Gloria.
García plays a quiet, middle-aged Chilean maid, Teresa, who has spent her entire adult life caring for someone else's family, sublimating her own maternal desire into devotion to their now grown-up son. When she is harshly let go after her employers experience a financial crisis, Teresa’s life is completely upended, and she is forced to travel across the spectacular Argentinian hinterlands in search of work.
Her long distance bus-ride turns into a hitchhike when a jovial stranger, El Gringo (Claudio Rissi), helpfully offers Teresa a lift. What then follows becomes a kind of love story and a profoundly beautiful quest for meaning, as the spareness of both the physical and emotional landscapes reveals something completely unexpected in Teresa.
With the grace and economy of a satisfying novella, The Desert Bride handles complex themes with maturity, and affectingly delivers further proof that Garcia is one of the most skilled and remarkable actresses in world cinema. It’s a beautiful film.