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The antidote to that sensationalist exercise is the fascinating experimental documentary “El Mar La Mar,” which also concerns migration in the Sonoran Desert Widows and screens at MoMA from Friday through March 1. But instead of offering a short burst of terror followed by the prospect of a quick escape, this immersive, sensorially complex movie evokes the terrifying disorientation and loneliness of migration: the Robin Hood eerie sounds of sand crunching underfoot; the surreal sights of jugs of water left by well-wishers; fragments of voices heard over radio transmissions.

Told in three movements, the second being the longest and least cryptic, the film is the work of J.P. Sniadecki (a veteran of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab) and Joshua Bonnetta, who are as concerned with the possibilities of the film medium as they are with this particular subject. The human presence is largely limited to voice-over testimonies. A resident talks about taking in a shivering young man. Andhadhun We hear of migrants’ experiences with getting lost. A woman recalls discovering a body.

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