Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘Desert Space’

Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘Desert Space’

Directed by Yerko Ravlic, Desert Space introduces the world to Leonel Codoceo, a quiet security guard who lives in the secluded desert town of Copiapo in the Atacama Desert. Living alone, Codoceo’s greatest passion lies above as he stares into the vast unknown looking for signs of extraterrestrial life. Codoceo awaits the return of his ex-wife. And his belief in the existence of aliens inspires him to organize a public vigil.

Set against the vast expanse of the desert, Desert Space is the tale of one man’s quest to find the impossible. Codoceo looks longingly towards the stars in order to find alien life. So to do that, we watch and wait for a sign along with him. With each high camera pan, so to does the viewer get the feeling that we are both watching and being watched. In this way, Space almost toys with the viewer. Through the use of long, slow takes and high-angle shots, there is a sense that something will come alive in the heavens if only we watch long enough with him. For Codoceo, every flash of light feels like a sense of hope as he leans into his belief that the truth is out there.

This is not a documentary that tries to give information or even necessarily try to convince the viewer. Instead, Space is a loving portrait of a man and the commitment of his belief. There is a relationship taking place between Codoceo and the unknown as he tries desperately to connect with alien life. He has a reverence for those that lie beyond. His belief is so strong that he is willing to sit in silence until the opportunity arises. For Codoceo, engaging the stars means engaging truth and he has committed his life to do so. 

Desert Space begins playing at HotDocs ‘22 on Monday, May 2nd, 2022.

This post was written by
Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website,
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