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Nobody Knows I'm Here

Jul 6, 2020

A beautifully photographed drama from Chile that captures the loneliness of a gifted singer.

Nobody Knows I’m Here

Grade: A-

Director: Gaspar Antillo

Screenplay: Antillo

Cast: Jorge Garcia (Lost), Luis Gnecco (The Two Popes)

Runtime: 1h 31 min

Rating: NR

By: John DeSando

“In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.” Laurence Sterne

A lyrical drama from Chile comes at a time when loneliness and disappointment need to be beaten back. Nobody Knows I’m Here tells of a gifted young Chilean boy, Memo (older memo is played by Lost’s Jorge Garcia), whose voice his father sells to promoters of another slimmer, handsomer young performer. Jorge spends his adult life as a sheep farmer remembering the promise of his voice and the betrayal of his father.

The poignancy is that Memo withdraws from society with only his memory and his still formidable voice. Writer/director Gaspar Antillo keeps this intriguing drama from becoming maudlin or overly melancholic by juxtaposing the minimalist house and barn on an island near Llanquihue in southern Chile—the drone shots expose the extreme, lush beauty while the closeups show how his past has imprisoned him in himself.

For anyone who has ever felt alone with regrets from the past that daily haunt, no poetic film could do more than this to express the personal pain and the longing to be released. Memo’s voice, which he practices all the time, and the costumes he makes for imaginary performances form the basis of his resilience.

Then add substitute postmistress Marta (Millaray Lobos), who draws Memo out of his memories, and hope blooms. Although she’s not particularly beautiful, she exudes care and selflessness coupled with an odd love of Memo, given his enormous size and solitude. Two outliers meant for each other.

It’s a surprise that smart phones and the Internet play an integral part in Memo’s deliverance, ushering him into the 21st Century and a healthy relationship with his past and his future.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com.