Mesa, Arizona, east of Phoenix and about 200 kilometres from the Mexican border, is said to be the most conservative city in the U.S. In 2001, Fernanda Pessoa was an exchange student in Mesa. She was 15 years old at the time. 15 years later she returned, in the weeks before the presidential election won by Donald Trump. Starting with numerous photos of that earlier time, Pessoa searches out people she met as a teenager. She finds a new approach to the United States, is more aware of everything she experiences; after all, she has grown up in the meantime. She conducts an inner dialogue with her former self as she rediscovers this country whose inhabitants are so proud of the fact that it’s theirs: America. The land of firearms and peculiar sports, the land that invented the shopping mall and the Western movie.
Pessoa quotes the philosopher Baudrillard, to whom America seemed like a fiction. With her film, she turns it into an experience of reality that ultimately makes her understand more about her own country: “Our cultural colonialism came to collect the bill.” “Arid Zone” (Arizona) opposes that colonialism with the gentle resistance of precise observation.
Honorable Mention in the Next Masters Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film.