Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original Title: Nadie nos mira
Argentina/Spain/Colombia/Brazil/USA, 2017. CEPA Audiovisual, Mad Love Film Factory, Aleph Motion Pictures, Taiga Filmes, La Panda, Travesia Productions, Miss Wasabi, Schortcut Films, Epicentre Films, Perdomo Productions, Programa Ibermedia, Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales, La Boyita, La Casa Studio, Chinita Films. Screenplay by Christina Lazaridi, Julia Solomonoff. Cinematography by Lucio Bonelli. Produced by Natalia Agudelo Campillo, Nicolás Herreño Leal, Elisa Lleras, Andrés Longares, Jaime Mateus-Tique, Lúcia Murat, Felicitas Raffo. Music by Sacha Amback. Production Design by Maite Perez-Nievas. Costume Design by Begonia Berges, Marjory Castellanos. Film Editing by Pablo Barbieri Carrera, Karen Sztajnberg, Andres Tambornino.
Guillermo Pfening is excellent as an actor living in New York City after having left a relatively high profile career in Buenos Aires, now in the Big Apple with the plan to star in an independent film whose director is experiencing the usual setbacks common to that world, delays in funding and pushback from producers. This means that our protagonist needs to keep himself together in a very expensive city while waiting for the project to begin, waiting tables, managing an Airbnb and babysitting for a compatriot who is married to a wealthy Frenchman, as well as any other way he can find to turn a buck. Add to this the juggling of these schedules and trying to stay flexible for the possibility of acting work, plus having to hide all this strife when his former co-star comes to visit from Argentina, and you have a man whose optimism is on an alarming decline. The challenges get tougher and staying afloat becomes a daily struggle to just get by, while the love affair he left behind, with a married man who was also the producer on his show, is possibly the reason that he doesn’t want to go back home and is fighting so hard to make his dream in America come true. The problem is that director Julia Solomonoff doesn’t quite specify that dream or clarify our hero’s problem, it’s obvious that he refuses to face his own failures (as one character points out to him) but we’re never sure if it’s because he’s passionate and inspired about an impossible goal or if it’s insecurity or even an actual personality disorder that makes him not want others to see what he lacks. His desire to get this film role off the ground isn’t a ridiculous one considering that it’s a real project with real conflicts (it’s not like someone pretending to be a director made false promises, nor did he lie to anyone about leaving home), but Solomonoff presents film industry people with such unforgiving bile (like a snobby international film producer that he meets at his friend’s yoga studio), that it’s clear that she judges his ambitions regardless of what inspires them. She’s not describing a world famous for its soft and loving personalities, show business is impossible and getting by in modern day Manhattan even more so, but between the cruelty of the people he’s trying to succeed with and the derogatory ways that he is treated by his roommates, co-workers and friends, it’s really hard to find a place of respite in this humorless, grim movie; the few moments of relief come when he hangs with the other nannies at the park, but they never pay off in any notable way.