The town Domingo lives in is being threatened by thugs hired by a developer to expel its inhabitants and pave the way for the construction of a highway. But his land hides a secret: the ghost of his wife who visits him within the mist.
Domingo and the Mist, directed by Ariel Escalante, is the International Feature submission for Costa Rica. The film begins with Domingo slowly walking back to his house. A new highway is being built right through his village and his entire neighbourhood is disappearing. Sellers are persuading everyone to sell their land and to move away.
The town is also an eerily quiet place which is constantly surrounded by a hazy mist. To Domingo, the mist is his recently deceased wife. He talks to her every time the village is enveloped by this smoggy presence. He talks to her about his dreams, about his worries, about how much he loves her and misses her. He lives with this past grief and with this past guilt.
The mist and the highway are connected together. He’s worried about his wife being unable to find him if he moves and thus forgetting about him. But he also believes that these men who’re building the highway are wrong, and should be stopped. As a result, he will fight until he’s the last man standing in this town, even if it means using violence.
Ariel Escalante has created a beautiful film. Every scene with Domingo standing in his yellow rainjacket enveloped in this blue and green mist is gorgeous. Words can’t properly describe that perfect cinematography, along with the perfect score. He’s been able to create a mysterious town set in the hilly rural area of Costa Rica. And led by a wonderful performance by Carlos Urena this film has a lot to contemplate once it’s over. Domingo is a man living with a lot of regret. He was a drunk. He was never present as a father or as a husband. He had infidelity with other women. And his wife died of sadness. We don’t always get a second chance to make things right. Domingo’s reluctance to move is a reflection on him trying to do the right thing. Between heaven and hell there’s only a small separation between the two. And all of us are right in the middle. One great action can lead us towards heaven and one bad action can lead us towards hell. As Domingo struggles to redeem himself for his past actions and to do the right thing, he’s a man vanishing in the middle of this mist, just like his town is slowly disappearing.