In der Wüste

Winter in West Berlin in the mid 1980s. Two artists, Fernando and Timur, share a dump of a flat off a gloomy courtyard in Kreuzberg. The Wall looms nearby, the refrigerator is empty, the ceiling leaks, and Chilean-in-exile Fernando is in such a funk that he cannot even bring himself to open a letter from home.
Rafael Fuster Pardo chose to base his feature debut In der Wüste on a story by Chilean author Antonio Skármeta and to work with a powerful ensemble of non-professional actors whose own biographies are marked by (post-)migration. With economy and precision, Fuster Pardo paints a picture of the life of a starving artist. Berlin appears as a desert of wastelands and rejection, as a city that for all its affluence is not free and egalitarian, but rather restrictive and cold. Not everyone is granted entry. And yet the film never allows its bright mood to darken; after all, crises are there so that we can distract ourselves from them. In the lead-up to Christmas, the city manages to get back on good terms with Fernando and Timur when they attend a Jocelyn B. Smith concert: for minutes on end, her performance of “Midnight Lover” electrifies both characters and audience alike.
by Rafael Fuster Pardo
with Claudio Caceres Molina, Mustafa Sagili, Adriana Altaras, Meric Temucin, Walter Alich, Ester Andradi, Hannelore Elskamp, Uwe Otterbein, Eva Steidel, Gino Merendino
Federal Republic of Germany 1987 German, Spanish 70’ Colour Rating R12


  • Claudio Caceres Molina
  • Mustafa Sagili
  • Adriana Altaras
  • Meric Temucin
  • Walter Alich
  • Ester Andradi
  • Hannelore Elskamp
  • Uwe Otterbein
  • Eva Steidel
  • Gino Merendino


Director Rafael Fuster Pardo
Written by Host Stasiak based on the short story with the same title by Antonio Skármeta
Cinematography Rafael Fuster Pardo
Editing Rafael Fuster Pardo
Sound Juan José Fuster Pardo, Michael de Groot
Assistant Director Herrmann-Josef Greuel
Production Manager Hans Willy Müller

Produced by

Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB)

Rafael Fuster Pardo

Born in 1951 in Barcelona, Spain. After training in construction design, he went on to study film and works as a writer, editor, cinematographer, director and lecturer. After co-directing two films, In der Wüste was his first solo work as director.


1979 Music for Millions; co-directed by Horst Stasiak, 20 min. 1980 No Place To Go; co-directed by Horst Stasiak, 83 min. 1987 In der Wüste; 70 min. 1995 Voglio dire una cosa, assolutamente, che sentano tutti!; 34 min. 2001 Beton streicheln – Eine Begegnung mit Engelbert Kremser; 99 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022