×

Watch Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry ‘Song Without a Name’ (EXCLUSIVE)

MADRID — Peru’s La Vida Misma and Paris-based sales agent Luxbox have dropped the first trailer and poster of Melina Leon’s “Canción sin nombre” (“Song Without a Name”), selected this week for the Cannes Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight.

Written by Leon and Michael J. White, “Song Without a Name” sums up some of ambitions and focus of the section under first-time artistic director Paolo Moretti: A first feature, a movie with a strong auteurist voice, and elements of genre in its slow-boiling thriller  thrust and dashes of film noir.

“Song Without a Name” is lead produced by La Vida Misma, in co-production with Spain’s MGC, Peru’s La Mula Producciones and Switzerland’s Bord Cadre, co-producers of “Monos” and “Divine Love,” well received at this year’s Sundance festival, and 2018 Directors’ Fortnight standout “Birds of Passage.”

Sophie Dulac Distribution, the French distributor of Whit Stillman’s “Love & Friendship” and Samuel Moaz’s “Foxtrot,” will release “Song Without a Name” in France.

Near the beginning of the trailer of “Song Without a Name,” Georgina (Pamela Mendoza,) 20, heavily pregnant, a new immigrant from the Andes’ Ayacucho, sits in a street in Lima in 1988, selling potatoes.

“Let’s see when you explode,” jokes husband Leo.

Georgina rarely smiles again in the film.

Sharply edited, the trailer captures the broad narrative of “Song Without a Name”: Beguiled by an offer from a San Benito Foundation of free-of-charge medical assistance for childbirth, Georgina’s uses the Foundation, has her daughter abducted at birth.

Leo and Georgina go to the police, who do nothing. Desperate, she stumbles into the offices of newspaper La Reforma, where a young journalist, Pedro (Tommy Párraga,) is told to cover her case. The trail finally takes him to a lawless Iquitos.

Leon’s studied  film direction at New York’s Columbia U. The film’s cinematographer, and one of its producers, is Inti Briones, DP on Dominga Sotomayor’s Locarno winner “Too Late to Die Young” and many of Alejandro Fernández Almendras’ movies such as Sundance laureate “To Kill a Man.”

CREDIT: Beatriz Torres/Luxbox

It shows. This is a film of a small budget and large artistic ambition, made by highly cine-literate filmmakers. It is shot in black & white – which comes from the director’s early memory of newspaper photographs of the day, she has said – and a 4:3 box format, used by TV of the time.

Noirish cinematography – low-key lighting, in frame obstructions, multiple corridors, shadows, many scenes shot at night – traps the characters all the more.

Weaved with two other plots – Pedro’s guarded romance with a male neighbor, an unemployed Leo’s recruitment by Shining Path – Georgina and Pedro’s desperate search for her newborn daughter promises to expose corruption in high places.

It is inspired by an investigation carried out in part by Melina Leon’s father, journalist Ismael León, to who  the film is dedicated, into a child trafficking case in Lima which gave the first headline to newspaper La República, which he co-founded.

In a month when Perú’s two-time former president Alan García shot himself dead to avoid a corruption probe, “Song Without a Name” asks how much Perú has really changed. That question turns not only on corruption but the status of Peru’s majority indigenous population.

At one time in the film, Pedro asks his editor for a list of newborn infants sent abroad for adoption. His editor prefers to move to the window and point out a Boeing 747 at the nearby Lima airport, the epitomé of modernity.

“In Peru we are mainly Andean, it’s our culture but people don’t want to see it because we still have a colonial mindset,” says Léon.

“A profound racism, a crazy inequality and dysfunctional governments are still our trademark,” she adds.

CREDIT: Luxbox

More Film

  • 'Joan of Arc' Review: Bruno Dumont's

    Cannes Film Review: 'Joan of Arc'

    You have to hand it to Bruno Dumont, France’s dark prince of dour auteurism: He never makes the same film twice, even when he does, to all intents and purposes, make the same film twice. Two years ago, he offered his own singular contribution to cinema’s well-stocked canon of Joan of Arc dramas: As a [...]

  • Rosie Day, Harriet Sanson Harris, Natalia

    Rosie Day, Harriet Sanson Harris, Natalia Tena Set For Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s Thriller ‘Baby’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES– Rosie Day (“Outlander”), Harriet Sanson Harris (“Phantom Thread”) and Natalia Tena (“Game of Thrones”) will star in Spaniard Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s psychological thriller “Baby,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project will be pitched on May 19 at Fantastic 7, a new Cannes initiative seeing seven of the world’s most prestigious fantastic festivals back and [...]

  • Polish Fest’s Industry Event Presents Upcoming

    New Horizons’ Polish Days Goes to Cannes With Five Films in Progress

    CANNES  —  Buoyed by a wave of international successes, including Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2019 foreign-language Oscar nominee “Cold War,” Polish cinema will get a fitting showcase Sunday morning with the presentation of five new projects at New Horizons’ Polish Days Goes to Cannes. Organized in conjunction with the Polish Film Institute, Polish Days is the most important [...]

  • Cannes, Annecy Animation Day Hosts ‘Bob

    Coala to Pitch ‘Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People’ at Cannes, Annecy Animation Day

    São Paulo-based Coala Filmes impressed in the series competition at last year’s Annecy Intl. Film Festival with an episode of their popular stop-motion series “Angeli the Killer,” based on the famous comics of the Brazilian comic-book writer of the same name. This year, the film’s director Cesar Cabral and producer Ivan Melo are participating in [...]

  • Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 Million

    Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 Million Film Fund Launches

    CANNES  —  Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 million private film fund Kinoprime is ready for business, the fund’s CEO, Anton Malyshev, said in Cannes this week. Financed to the tune of $100 million over the next three years, the fund can provide up to 50% of a film’s production budget, with a $2 million cap [...]

  • Russian Helmer of Blockbuster ‘Stalingrad’ Looks

    Russia’s Fedor Bondarchuk Unveils Four New Films in Cannes

    CANNES  —  Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk introduced four new productions from his Art Pictures Studio Saturday in Cannes, including “Attraction 2,” the sequel to his 2017 sci-fi blockbuster. The invitation-only showcase at the Gray d’Albion hotel also unveiled footage from three new features that Bondarchuk is either directing or producing. Sci-fi thriller “Sputnik” is the story [...]

  • "The Whistlers" Review: The Romanian New

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Whistlers'

    With all due respect to Lauren Bacall, there’s always been a bit more to whistling than putting your lips together and blowing. Certainly for Cristi (Vlad Ivanov), the corrupt Bucharest policeman embroiled in a comically complex plot to get a local gangster off the hook in Corneliu Porumboiu’s Cannes competition title “The Whistlers,” it is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content