April 30, 2021 -
In the Sonoran Desert, on the United States’ border with Mexico, you’ll find Sundog: an solitary, elderly man who lives by taking what nature gives him, whether it is a wild boar or psychedelics from a toad. Lisa Marie Malloy and J.P. Sniadecki’s “A Shape of Things to Come” introduces us to Sundog, emphasizing the sensory materiality of the desert over explanations and dialogue, and moving beyond the human scale to take nature, animals and the desert into account.
Sundog and his desert kingdom exist between a distant past in the eco-movements of the 1960s and a possible future in the shadow of the apocalypse — especially when border patrols threaten the delicate balance.
Equal parts “Walden” and western, “A Shape of Things to Come’s” magnificent isolation stands in paradoxical contrast to its reflection of its contemporary, smoldering problems. With the desert as the ultimate existential (and cinematic) setting, the film is a portrait of the relationship between humans and the environment at a critical time.