Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to Aly Muritiba’s “Private Desert” (“Deserto Particular”) Brazil’s International Feature Oscar submission and a love story hailed for its large sensibility as well as political point.
The deal was negotiated with the film’s world sale agent, Rome-based Intramovies. Kino Lorber will bring ‘Private Desert’ to U.S. and Canadian theaters in 2022, followed by a release on all major digital platforms and home video.
World premiering at September’s Venice Film Festival, the film won the Audience Award – the BNL People’s Choice Award – at its Venice Days.
Written by Muritiba and Henrique dos Santos and produced by Antonio Gonçalves Junior at Brazil’s Grafo, Muritiba’s career-long producer, “Private Desert” begins in Curitiba in Brazil’s cold rich South with Daniel, 40, a burly police instructor with a boxer’s face who has been suspended from active service for beating a raw recruit into a coma.
Caring for his aged father, Daniel’s release is his long distance internet love affair with Sara. Sara brings out the best in Daniel, a poetic happy side which it is hard to associate with the atrocious act of violence which he has committed.
When she begins to ghost him, Daniel drives nearly 2,000 miles across half a huge country to the radically contrasting warm, humble part of Bahía to try to find her. That strong sense of empathy with Daniel continues with Sara when the film takes up on her life in Bahía, in Brazil’s North East.
“Private Desert” is co-produced by Portugal’s Fado Filmes. Since its world premiere at Venice, the feature has begun to accumulate upbeat reviews, plaudits and a flurry of prizes. “This Brazilian drama is a welcome and assured intervention into that country’s calcified ideals about desire and masculinity,” ran a recent Variety review.
“Private Desert” won the best film and best acting awards for Pedro Fasanaro at Mix Brasil 2021 and then best international film at the TLVFest 2021 – the Tel Aviv International LGBTQ Film Festival.
At Spain’s Huelva Festival-Cine Iberoamericano, “Private Desert” scooped both the Camilo Award, given to the best LGBTQ-themed feature film, and the Transfusión de Huelva Award. Most recently, back in Brazil, the feature won kudos for best film, best actor (Antonio Saboia and Pedro Fasanaro), best supporting actress (Zezita Matos), best supporting actor (Luthero Renato de Almeida) and best soundtrack at the 25th Cine PE in Recife.
“Private Desert” hits the International Oscar race nearly three years after the election as president of Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro, who said in 2011 that he’d “rather his son die in a car accident than be gay.” The country is highly polarized in political terms.
Walter Salles, director of the Oscar-nominated “Central Station,” has hailed “Private Desert” as a sympathetic and emotional portrait of a country in anguish.”
“During a difficult moment for Brazil, Aly Muritiba points to another possible future – one that is sensitive, inclusive, and generous. ‘Private Desert’ is not to be missed.’’
“‘Private Desert’ exemplifies the harmonious balance of personal, political, and formally daring filmmaking we’ve come to expect from contemporary Brazilian cinema,” said Kino Lorber SVP of theatrical Wendy Lidell. “Its thoughtful portrayal of an unexpected queer romance bucks stereotypes while offering an incisive look at the state of masculinity in modern society.”
“‘Private Desert’ marks Muritiba’s third solo feature, after 2015’s “For My Dead Lover,” which played San Sebastian, and “Rust,” selected for Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition in 2018.
“I have dedicated the recent years of my career in cinema to reflect on the masculine affection, the masculine way of being and loving in contemporary Brazilian society, an essentially conservative and patriarchal society,” Muritiba has said.