At 42, the widower Elías Salgado sees how his life silently goes by between work, the bar and his home in Illapel, a small town in northern Chile. Dissatisfied with life's quietness, he searches without success a way to leave behind fifteen years of working as the town hall's cashier.
Everything seems to change when his daughter Asunción (10) accidentally discovers the power to find ground water by dowsing, a pseudoscientific activity that allows to find objects using tools such as a Y-shaped rod or a pendulum. After doing a quick research on the subject and sharing with her father the secrets of her new gift, Asunción joins him on a journey, visiting several semi-arid properties lacking this vital resource.
Soon, their family economy improves slightly and Elías seems to find a way out of the state of ennui that overwhelmed him. Expectations improve to the point that he decides to quit his job, but must do so behind his mother, Rebeca (70). She is very influential on Asunción's formation and does not welcome any fall in her granddaughter's school performance.
This situation, combined with a stagnation of this business, triggers a crisis within the family group that brings out and makes visible Elías and his mother's wounds. This will provoke in Elías sudden changes in behaviour: some days being euphoric and others not even capable of getting up. Asunción becomes very concerned with her father's mental health, and ends up refusing to continue looking for ground water. This however will only provoke in him a crisis, a manic crisis.
After her First Communion, and without the presence of his father who has been admitted to a hospital, Asunción understands that only through dowsing will be able to afford her father's medical treatment. With her grandmother she engages on what could be a long journey through the northern desert.
The story takes place in Illapel, a place with drought problems, in the middle of spring. It is a small town of around thirty thousand inhabitants, and about 280 kms. north of Santiago, where it’s evident the dichotomy between the landscape's semi-arid nature and the socially-created spaces,
In "Radiesthesia" I propose an austere visual narrative, distant from any artificial resources and that takes reality as an aesthetic value in itself. In the same way as in my first feature film, “La Jubilada” (The Retiree), I'm interested in persevering on a minimalist and pictorial style that shows the relationship between humans and their environment.
The use of fixed plane to capture the immobility of the characters will be altered only in those necessary camera movements that follow Asunción in her search for wáter.