×

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

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

  • Lucy-Lost

    Cartoon Forum: 30th Anniversary, Little Giants and New Generations

    TOULOUSE, France –  Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cartoon Forum wrapped Sept. 19 having showcased the ever-growing strength of European animation. 85 projects were pitched from 24 countries at the co-production forum platform that played host to north of 1,000 investors, distributors and producers – a record number. Falling on French-speaking Belgium – Wallonie-Bruxelles – whose [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content