Sundog lives in the Sonoran desert, near the U.S. border with Mexico. There he leads a self-sufficient existence surrounded by pigs, snakes, bats, and cranes. Off in the distance lurk the surveillance cameras, bulldozers, and Border Patrol. Seeing the ecosystem and his own freedom coming under increasing threat, he dreams up an act of eco-terrorism. Most of all, though, this film gives a vivid impression of life in a desert that is awe-inspiring in daylight, but unsettling at night.
Co-director Sniadecki met Sundog while making El mar la mar (2017), a documentary set in the harsh environment of the Sonoran desert. The sensorial cinematography and sophisticated sound design evoke a surreal atmosphere—whether Sundog is shooting a peccary, smoking psychedelic venom from a toad, or harvesting a zucchini from his lush garden. The organic flow of images adds a certain excitement to minor observations and routines, and makes the everyday sublime. Sundog’s way of life, far removed from the unhealthy rat race, implicitly raises questions about how humans relate to the environment—and to themselves—while haunted by the specter of global ecological collapse.