Last Days in the Desert

Synopsis: Ewan McGregor is Jesus - and the Devil - in an imagined chapter from his forty days of fasting and praying in the desert. On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis, setting for himself a dramatic test.
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Director(s): Rodrigo García
Production: American Zoetrope
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min


where are you?


speak to me.

I have water for you here, Yeshua.

That's what your mother

calls you, isn't it?

Any name that's good enough for Mary

is good enough for me.

And what does your father call you?



I'm looking for water. I can work for it.

- What can you do?

- Whatever's needed.

You're building up here.

I know carpentry and stone.

- Where are you headed?

- Jerusalem, but I'm a little lost.

Where are you coming from?

From spending time in the desert.

Why? There's nothing here.

What is Jerusalem like?

Dirty and corrupt.

But also alive. Very alive.

- Do you have a father?

- Yes. He's out.

- He'll ask me if I offered you food.

- That's not necessary.

Thank you.

Stay. Please. Rest for a while.

Talking to your father

is like talking to a rock.

He's so busy with his little things,

the shape of a drop of dew,

the sound roots make breaking

their way through the ground.

Everything matters more to him than you.


My father loves me.

He is amused by you.

He loves himself only.

Are you lost?


Are you one of those preachers?

Looking for something here in the desert

that you can't find anywhere else?

How long have you been out here, holy man?

Since the last full moon.

Maybe a little longer.


No. You people are never alone.

Some spirit or something

is always with you, isn't it?

Tell me one thing you've learned out here,

and I'll offer you shelter for the night.

- Oh, that's not necessary.

- Please. It would give me pleasure.

Man makes do anywhere.

Because he is man.


Give me a hand with this.

Thank you.

- There's no need to wait for her.

- I don't mean to offend, but I'm fasting.

What is it?

She thinks it's funny

that she wants to eat but can't...

and our guest, who can, won't.

What are you building up there?

A house for me to live in.

My father wants me to stay here.

To help him make something of this place.

Is that what you want?

What is it that you want?

I want to go to Jerusalem.

And I want to see the sea.

And I want to see

the lighthouse at Alexandria.

And does your father know that?


Why don't you talk to him about it?

I've seen Jerusalem.

I've walked away without my father

knowing and I've seen it from a ridge.

It shines in the sun and I want it

so much, I could scream.

I don't want to waste my time here.

Wasting life is a sin.

I want to leave my footprint on the world.

Come, holy man.

Oh, this isn't necessary.

I can sleep outside.

No. She won't bother you.



I've committed a horrible sin.

My son is not my husband's son.

I don't want to die...

and leave this lie behind me.

I don't want my son trapped here forever.

Help me, please.

In your holy man comings-and-goings...

have you learned any medicine?

Cures are the only things worth seeking.

For pain... suffering.

The rest is just...

This boy is good

at taking care of the sick.

He's had practice, unfortunately.

If he had come into this world somewhere

else, he could have made it his life's work.

And what did you want for yourself

when you were a boy?

I wanted to raise livestock...

and be a butcher, like my father.

He never taught me any of it, though.

He said it had taken him years and years

to master the skill on his own,

and he wasn't just going to give it away.

"Every man must make himself. "

I heard that a thousand times.

He was a selfish man.

And he died alone.

What does your father do?

Ask for permission

when you address a guest, boy.

That's all right. We spoke some yesterday.

My father's a carpenter.

Smart man.

A man who is good at work like that

can always provide for his children.

And did you want to be a carpenter also

when you were a boy?

Your good intentions will be wasted here.

They don't need us to ruin their lives.

They'll do that all by themselves.

Do you know what I do

when they're finally mine?

I have them watch the life they've lived

over and over again. Forever.

Oh, what anger.

You are your father's son.

Very well. I'll stay out of it.

Surprise me.

- And if I do?

- A wager?

If you can solve

this entanglement, this knot...

to the satisfaction of the mother,

the father and the child,

I'll stay out of your way

for the rest of your journey home.

And if I fail?

Failure is its own punishment.

- That's Daddy talk.

- Enough for the day.

This is all just an excuse

to delay your departure, isn't it?

Because you're scared to go on.

Scared out of your head.

You're not ready and you know it.


What part of a bird doesn't fly?

It's a riddle.

What part of a bird doesn't fly?

I don't know.

Its shadow.

- Did you make that up?

- Yes.

It's good.


I want the boy to learn a trade.

There's plenty for him

to learn right here.

Any trade that he wants.

Or that you want for him.

In Jerusalem, perhaps.

I want this very much.

I would need money for that.

Just to get him set up and started.

No one will take him

as an apprentice without payment.

For food, at least.


You are...

a powerful...


beautiful man...

and you will find a way.

I know it.

I cannot do my dying while he's here.

My father was 47 when he had me.

My mother was 20.

He had another wife before her,

but she died.

And now my mother will die too.

And my father says

a man makes his own luck.


What did he do to make two wives die?


I agree with you.

Do you have a wife or children?

Do you plan to?

Well, you never know, right?

- Have you ever sailed on a boat?

- Yes, I have.

- Is it scary?

- It can be terrifying.

But mostly it's thrilling.

My father sailed on a boat once.

He said he got caught in a storm at sea.

He said it was a nightmare.

Everything outside of our world

is scary to him.

My father says once my mother

is buried here that we cannot leave.

He says a grave ties a man

to the land forever.

Do you think I'm selfish

because I don't want to live here?


My father has lived here his whole life...

and he's lived it the way he wanted to.

But now it's my turn. Men take turns.

I am not a bad son.

I'm not.

I am not a bad son!

I am not a bad son!

I'm not a bad son!

I am not a bad son!



It hurts.

I want it to be over.

I'm not afraid of death.

I'm only scared of being alone

when I get there.

You will not be alone.

None of us is alone.

Find better words, Yeshua.

You must work at that.

Intention is good, but...

often the words are hollow and useless.

Or better still...

find an action.


Action over words. Always.

Otherwise, silence.

You think you are his only child?

There are others.


There is only me.

There is only me.

Look in on your mother.

Did the boy speak with you

when you went to the water?

A little.

I don't know how to talk to him.

The words get caught in my throat.

I fight to push them through

and they come out harsh.

I suppose he thinks I'm angry at him.

He doesn't know me...

and I don't know him.

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Rodrigo García

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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