Song Without a Name (Melina Leon, 2019): Peru | Spain | USA | Chile

Going into the film knowing the premise I had drawn my conclusion that the film would be emotionally gripping yet, have a happy ending. Predictable and possible resemble other films that deal with the kidnapping of children. However, my expectations were quickly dissolved as the black and white box like format films started to play. 

Song Without A Name is directed by Melina Leon and written by Micheal J. White and the director. Pamela Mendoza plays Georgina. An indigenous 20 year old mother seeking to find out what has happened to her newborn baby girl. Tommy Parraga play journalist Pedro Cam who is based on the filmmaker’s father Ismael Leon.  Tommy is a gay Journalist who is also fighting oppression and Injustice. The two join forces to uncover a human trafficking ring after the police seem reluctant to get involved. The film also explores the political turmoil of 1980 Peru. The economic and racial inequality suffered. Sexual identity. And the pursuit of justice or there for the lack of. Song Without A Name was inspired by the 1st 1981 news newspaper headlines of LA REPUBLICA.  The newspaper company that is featured in the film and that newspaper Ismael worked at.   

Many have compared Song Without A Name to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. In that both films are  presented in black and white, and both films deal with the struggle of indigenous women in Latin America. However, the film has drawn if own identity not only through its narrative, but also through its cinematography. Its 4:3 boxy screen format and unclear images at times reminds one of a tv screen from that time period in Peru. This format definitely helps to give identity to the film.  The atmosphere of the film is greatly assisted by this. The hopelessness of the situation is mirrored in the way the character’s at times are being surrounded by darkness. At other times almost completely disappearing into the background and then reappearing. Again mirroring the struggle and determination these two characters are going through. Cinematographer Inti Briones did an amazing job in captivating the audience. 

At times the film seems like a silent film as there is not a lot of dialogue present. However, through the characters physical actions we can see their, hopelessness, determination, their anger, and their anguish. At the end of the film we still Georgina’s internal struggle while she singing a lullaby. The focus of the camera allows us to see the anguish and the understanding of her situation. 

Although the ending of the film may not be what one is anticipating, it reminds us that there are case such as this, then and today, that do not have the result we may want. The same can be said for the subplots of the story. 

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