A Shape of Things to Come

A Shape of Things to Come

Lisa Marie Malloy, J.P. Sniadecki / 2020 / 77 minutes / United States

Sundog lives out in the Sonora Desert on the Mexican border. He is an elderly gentleman, who lives off anything that the brutal nature gives him, be it a wild boar or the psychedelic poison of a toad. A Shape of Things to Come puts precedence on the sensory materiality of the desert instead over explanations and dialogue, and moves beyond the human scale and down to animal perspectives. It creates a world that stretches from a distant past in the ecological movements of the 1960s to a possible future in the aftermath of the apocalypse. But the border patrol agents are threatening the peace in Sundog’s desert kingdom, which the armed recluse is prepared to defend. With the desert as the ultimate existential (and cinematic) setting, the film shows the relationship between humanity and nature at a critical time, when civil disobedience is the provocative answer to the most pressing questions.

  • “The Best Films of 2021 … So Far. A haunting immersion into a life off the grid. Suggests a fusion of an eco-doc and acid western, and this disparity between genres results in a mysterious tension.”

    — Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
  • "A loner in America’s Southwestern desert is the elusive subject of this mysterious documentary. Directors Lisa Marie Malloy and J.P. Sniadecki’s minimalist portrait evokes several themes — everything from the restorative power of nature to civilisation’s destructive tendencies."

    — Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
  • “Fascinating. Sublime. Has aesthetic qualities that rival anything contemporary documentary has to offer. Images are remarkably composed.”

    — Matt Turner, The Brooklyn Rail

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