Every Young Woman's Desire (El deseo de toda ciudadana) *
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Chile
translated by Prof. Charles Philip Thomas
CAST: 3 women, 2 men
One afternoon when she comes home from work, she finds a man in her
apartment who is "fastidiously dressed, slicked-back black hair, a combination of a Godfather and Humphrey Bogart." After the man states that he only wants to ask her a few questions, Veronica yells out her name, address, and phone number but soon becomes timid when the man calmly asks her "Don't you think you're overreacting?" She thinks the neighbors might be listening and then carries on a conversation with him. The man explains that he is seeking information about a certain Peter Brown, whom he insists Veronica has met, and that she has probably had a relationship with him. This first encounter ends as the man leaves and tells her to pray to the Virgin and that he has "business to take care of."
Strange events begin to happen as Veronica goes to work the next day and discovers that her boss is absent. This leads to the first of a succession of scenes in which the man becomes increasingly possessive and more violent with Veronica as she loses more and more of the identity she had at the beginning and begins to become a willing victim of the man and be controlled by him. Veronica has already begun to act differently, but is thoroughly taken aback when she returns home the next day to find that the lock on her door has been changed by the man as a "precaution." Several other violent scenes follow: the man shoots holes in the ceiling, threatens Veronica with the gun, accuses her of being a whore, accuses her of protecting Peter Brown, makes her call her new boss, Mario, to set up a meeting in which the man kills him, and Veronica suffers a nightmare in which Mario lunges at her with an ax, and kills her best friend, Cynthia, as Veronica watches television. Now completely under the man's control and with all his promises to protect her from "outside influence" (frighteningly realistic if one remembers how the Chilean military reacted to foreign reporters after Pinochet lost the plebiscite), Veronica accepts his gift of a wedding gown and the two are married before the Virgin of Carmen. In this scene, which is reminiscent of Wolff's Paper Flowers, the absurd humor, which is evident in other scenes as well, surfaces to its highest level. As the man sleeps a "warrior's sleep" after the wedding, Veronica goes through his things and finds out that the man is Peter Brown Bergain. He wakes up, takes a pistol and aims at her. He can't shoot her and then brutally "penetrates her without a trace of tenderness". She picks up the gun and riddles him with bullets. As she goes out to the street, the man's ghost appears and they walk away hand in hand.
Marco Antonio de la Parra
Works in Translation