SONG WITHOUT A NAME is a passionate, strong debut film from Peruvian writer/director, Melina Leon.
A passionate, strong debut film from Peruvian writer/director, Melina Leon exposing the child trafficking problems in late 1980’s Peru. Uncompromising, but incredibly sensitive, SONG WITHOUT A NAME, is a very personal first feature, but one which will strike at the heart of all of us.
Much has been done in recent years to expose child abuse and sexual abuse, and stories and offences are coming to light from as far back as the mid-20th century, in a 21st century attempt to improve the human rights of everyone. So, when the director’s father, who was a journalist, shared the scandal of baby trafficking during the turbulent political times of late 1980’s Peru, it stayed with Melina, and after a long development process, SONG WITHOUT A NAME, was finally made. Set in and around Lima, the film unfolds around the life of two people.
‘Georgina’ is a native Peruvian, who at 20 has basic education and is very poor. She is heavily pregnant as the film opens, and gladly takes up the offer of free healthcare for the birth. However, straight after her baby girl is born, she is spirited away on the pretence of needing medical care. This is the last Georgina sees of her baby. When she comes round, weak and disorientated, she is helped up, but then unceremoniously shut out of the ‘clinic’, which then disappears. Helped tremendously by the strong, earnest performance of Peruvian actress Pamela Mendoza, the story follows Georgina’s frantic attempts to find out what happened. These eventually lead her to the newspaper, and here she meets Pedro, an aspiring journalist, who takes up her story. Played very well by Tommy Parraga, Pedro is an unassuming, but caring, diligent character who eventually, after many cuts outs gets to the heart of the kidnappers’ ring.
With a superb narrative, spare and lean throughout, there’s no indulgence, or clever dialog, this is just natural, startlingly human drama at its best. Also painting a picture of Peru’s social and cultural identity at the time along with the political intrigue and corruption, SONG WITHOUT A NAME, is a wonderful expose. It is also a very well-crafted film, with beautiful and naturalistic photography, by experienced and highly celebrated cinematographer, Inti Briones. The film is seamless to watch. It is also shot on the old TV ratio of 1.33. This was to echo the Director’s desire to accurately set the film into the 1980’s, and the film, although low budget works wonderfully well in its period setting, and spares or softens nothing to tell the harsh, but very human story of Georgina and Pedro.
Nominated at Cannes, SONG WITHOUT A NAME, has done incredibly well at festivals world-wide, and was set for a bigger theatrical release last March. Due to the pandemic, the release was changed, and the film managed a very successful if short theatrical run in many countries this Autumn, which in the UK anyway, ended this week with the return of lockdown. However, the film can be seen on Curzon Home Cinema, and is well worth it. This is a story which engages, pulls you in and educates and interests all in one, and is based on powerful truth. We hear that writer/director Melina Leon is planning a second feature soon, if it is as good, it is something to really look forwards to.
Screenwriter/Director Jane Alexandra Foster regularly reviews, believes in and loves to support Indie film whatever the genre, budget or background. http://www.23-films.com
*Peru are putting forward SONG WITHOUT A NAME for its Oscar entry this year.