‘Song Without a Name’ (Canción sin nombre’) is a harrowing Peruvian film about a young, poor, pregnant woman from the Andes who is about to experience a nightmare that any new mother would not want.
Set in 1988 in Peru where the country is in the grips of a devastating political crisis, Georgina (Pamela Mendoza) lives with her partner Leo, ekeing out a living in poverty in a shack on a hillside. Leo (Lucio Rojas) is a day laborer while Georgina sells potatoes in the town market. One day she hears an advert on the town loudspeaker about a clinic that helps women give birth to their babies for no charge. So when Georgina starts feeling labor pains she rushes to the clinic in the city to give birth. After the birth, and in horrible pain, and after asking to see her baby several times, the clinic ushers Georgina out the door as she’s kicking and screaming to see her baby. With the doors to the clinic now shut, and after frantically screaming and yelling to let her back in, she has to go back to her village and break the news to Leo. Determined not to give up, Georgina and Leo go to the local police, but luckily for them local journalist Pedro (Tommy Parraga) gets involved. While Pedro has personal issues of his own, he is determined to investigate the clinic and its dodgy dealings, and he finds other young women who have also been to the same clinic only to have their babies not given back. But with Pedro’s help will Georgina and Leo ever get to see their new baby?
Melina León’s debut feature has been submitted as Peru’s 2021 Academy Awards candidate in the International Feature Film competition and was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
León is the first female Peruvian director to play Cannes, with ’Song Without a Name’ her debut feature. It’s a harrowing and dramatic film, and while it runs at a short 97 minutes, it packs a powerful punch.
SONG WITHOUT A NAME is available to download from 22nd February 2021
Review by Tim Baros