The Sonoran Desert, on the border between Mexico and the United States, is the harshest of environments. In the summer, daytime temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius, and water is scarce. As a local puts it, "Everything wants to hurt you here: the plants, the insects, the wild animals." Only the very poorest illegal immigrants opt to take this route to the U.S. Those who are lucky can cross the desert in three to five days, but most lose their way and die of thirst or hunger, or are picked up by the border patrol. El mar la mar relates this human drama through the stories of survivors, trackers and inhabitants of the desert, whose voices we hear on the soundtrack. Here we see few people, and only within the formidable landscape and its ecology. This meditative, sometimes abstract documentary employs 16mm film to address a burning political and social issue with a poetic exploration of the desert.