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The Burning Plain (2008)

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A drama with a two-tiered storyline concerning a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman's difficult childhood.


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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Young Man
Cristobal (as Diego Torres)
José Gallardo Jr. ...
Rosalia De Aragon ...
Aunt Rebecca (as Rosalia de Aragon)


The Burning Plain follows the story of several different people separated by time and space -- Sylvia, a woman in Oregon who must undertake an emotional odyssey to rid herself of her past; Mariana and Santiago, two teenagers trying to piece together the shattered lives of their parents in a New Mexico border town; Maria, a little girl who goes on a border-crossing voyage to help her parents find redemption, forgiveness, and love; and Gina and Nick, a couple who must deal with an intense and clandestine affair... because they are both married. Written by sundance7490 from Scottsdale, Arizona

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love heals. Love absolves. Love burns.


Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

5 November 2009 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Loin de la terre brûlée  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$58,749, 20 September 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$200,399, 20 November 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title can be translated to Spanish as "El Llano en Llamas", the title of Juan Rulfo's short story collection, one of Mexico's most famous writers. See more »


Santiago and Maria are supposedly living in Mexico, but Santiago's Piper has a US tail number (they start with "N" while Mexican aircraft start with XA or XB) See more »


Sylvia: What grade are you in?
Maria: 9th.
Sylvia: Do you have a boyfriend?
Maria: Nope. Do you?
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode #24.1 (2009) See more »


Las Golondrinas
Written by Ricardo Palmerín & Luis Rosado
Performed by Flaco Jiménez (as Flaco Jimenez)
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

A pretentious and boring film
23 July 2010 | by See all my reviews

Do not misunderstand me...I like to see a Mexican going through the cultural barrier to infiltrate himself in the "star system" from Hollywood.I only wish that screenwriter and more recently also director Guillermo Arriaga would prove different things.He only did it once, with the excellent film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, and he may back to do it in the future, but for now, his debut as a director The Burning Plain, employs his classic formula: a tremulous drama of a simple narrative unnecessarily complicated by a fragmented structure in order to simulate ingenuity and deepness...exactly the same as his previous screenplays for Amores Perros, Babel and 21 Grams.

I am not against the non-linear narrative style.In many occasions, it brought unusual and fascinating movies as a result (such as, for example, Pulp Fiction or Mulholland Dr.); but when the trick is an end by itself, the experience becomes into a dull march to the final revelations, where the relationships between the characters and the connections of causes and consequences are finally concreted.The problem in The Burning Plain is that those revelations can be figured out much before the screenplay deigns itself to confess them, so we only witness scene by scene of drama, betrayal and suffering, hoping for something (whatever it is) to make us get interested in the movie.And, in my case, that "something" never came, so the result was a pretentious, boring and unsatisfactory film.

However, I have to admit Arriaga could extract excellent performances from his cast.Kim Basinger and Charlize Theron made a remarkable work, and I think that José María Yazpik, Tessa Ia and Joaquim de Almeida are also worthy of applause.Their performances are so good that I wished they had better material to work with.However, I cannot recommend The Burning Plain, because I found it to be tedious from the beginning to the end.

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