TL;DR – A haunting look at the damage that fame can do set in the beautiful world of the Chilean coast.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Fame, it is a thing that many people want, and in the world of Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok it is almost more obtainable than in any other point in history. However, fame can come with a cost, fame can come with damage, and fame can have lasting effects. Today we look at a film that explores these issues and the legacy that can leave in their wake.
So to set the scene, a child musical prodigy Memo (Lukas Vergara) had a lot of hope at one point but now all grown up Memo (Jorge Garcia) spends time breaking into houses and not doing much else. The rest of his time is spent working on his uncle’s Mr Braulio’s (Luis Gnecco) sheep farm on a coastal island of Southern Chile. His past haunts Memo as the damage of his youth lives through every part of his life.
The first thing you notice in this movie is just how beautiful it is from the cinematography to the locations. I think the filmmakers filmed it in-situ, rather than building a set and congratulations to the location scout who spotted this. The Chilean coast is both immediately familiar but also completely different from anything I have experienced before. This heightens everything you watch, even before they go into the rivers and waterfalls. Every moment is captured in this light that feels temperate but never cold. All of this works within the structure of the film, as there is always a storm threatening to strike, both narratively and literally.
The location is heightened by the film often shying away from using music but instead letting the sounds of the environment be the main focus of the soundtrack. When the music is there it is an undercurrent, a pulsating movement sitting there until it bursts forth in an explosion. There are moments when this is from Memo thinking back on his past, and then there are moments when everything comes to a crescendo. It is here where the music spikes through and crosses that line into the grey area of what is real and what is fantasy.
There is a definite sense from the start that there is a lot of pain in Memo’s past, something traumatic that has shaped his life in all the wrong ways making him live a life of a recluse. Part of that is revealed early in the film when we discover that the music producer wanted Memo’s voice but nothing else. We see it in these moments where Memo tries to capture the past he wanted in these moments that blend the real and the fantasy. When a red light shines in from the side and the world as we know it falls away. All of this becomes heightened when his uncle is injured, and Memo is left alone on the island. A local girl Martita (Millaray Lobos) tries to help him with his demons, but this unfortunately only makes things worse.
I have to give full credit to Jorge Garcia, who nails what is a challenging role to pull off. A part that is both distant and relatable, punctured by moments of violence and pain but also hope. To have a character that has to hit such extremes yet still stay centred in the role is truly impressive. The rest of the supporting cast is also here for some parts that thread a fragile line in places. Millaray Lobos plays this role of someone who is desperately trying to help this person who she does not understand and is rightly fascinated and also scared at times. She is also unwittingly an agent of chaos in his life, but there is never any callousness. Even character’s like Memo’s very one-dimensional father is playing the heck out of his one-dimensionality.
This film is at its heart is about the damage of fame, especially when it is children who are being exploited by their parents, agents, and the industry. The film pulls apart this world and the damage it does when a scandal is a currency. We see this in the way the film takes what is beautiful and makes it sinister. For example, throughout the film, we get these beautiful overhead shots of the intersection of the land and water of Chile. However, we then see how drones are used to exploit and abuse people; it puts all those moments in a different light. The beautiful lush Chilean countryside becomes a warren for paparazzi and their telephoto lenses. Narratives are used and twisted and exploited, and it is hard to watch at times.
In the end, do we recommend Nobody Knows I’m Here? Yes, yes we do. It is a film that is exploring fame from a perspective we don’t usually see, or when we do it is done in a very exploitive way. It is well-acted, beautifully filmed, and had an ending that left me with many questions. If you liked Nobody Knows I’m Here, we would also recommend Guava Island.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Nobody Knows I’m Here
Directed by – Gaspar Antillo
Written by – Enrique Videla, Josefina Fernández & Gaspar Antillo
Music by – Carlos Cabezas
Cinematography by – Sergio Armstrong
Edited by – Soledad Salfate & Christian López
Production/Distribution Companies – Fabula & Netflix
Starring – Jorge Garcia, Lukas Vergara, Millaray Lobos, Luis Gnecco, Alejandro Goic, Gastón Pauls, Vincente Álvarez, Eduardo Paxeco, Juan Falcón, Solange Lackington, María Paz Grandjean, Julio Fuentes, Nelson Brodt & Roberto Vander
Rating – Australia: M;