Melina León

Peru, Spain, USA, Switzerland, 2019 / 97 min / Spanish and Quechua OV with English or French and Dutch subt. / drama

Having her newborn daughter taken from her at birth, Georgina has to prevail over corruption and racism in a Peru in crisis in order to find her baby.

Peru, 1988. Political crisis is at its peak when Georgina, a woman from the Andes, is expecting her first child. Living precariously, she hears a clinic’s radio announcement offering free medical assistance to poor pregnant women. However, after childbirth, Georgina is being denied access to her baby and lead out of the clinic. The distraught mother frantically scours the city in search of her baby and for justice, but since the police are not taking her pleas seriously, she heads to a major newspaper where an investigative journalist, Pedro Campos, accepts to take up her cause, determined to uncover the truth. Soon, they discover that Georgina’s situation is no exception.

With beautiful and affecting music, and a meticulous visual aesthetic, this lyrical film is all the more poignant and personal given that director Melina Leon’s father was one of the journalists who broke this disturbing story decades ago. Exacting black-and-white photography lends force and immediacy to this sorrowful, ripped-from-the-headlines tale of corruption, exploitation, and loss.

Sat 07/03 21:00 Cinémathèque ES & Quechua OV with EN subt. Public
Tue 10/03 21:15 Ciné Utopia ES & Quechua OV with FR & NL subt. Public
Thu 12/03 16:00 Cinémathèque ES & Quechua OV with EN subt. Public

“A bold, beautiful debut […] Peruvian writer-director Melina León’s visually striking period piece is a Kafka-esque crime thriller inspired by real events. […] World premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, this Peruvian-Spanish-U.S. co-production is beautifully composed, with gorgeous monochrome visuals and rich musical layers.” Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, 16/05/2019

“Earthy with social detail from a despairing period of Peru’s recent history, it’s shot, scored and styled like the most beautiful of bad dreams. The film’s wistful, elegiac tone, immaculate monochrome cinematography and compassionate focus on disenfranchised indigenous women will inevitably prompt surface-level comparisons to Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma […] [S]hort but stately, Song Without a Name dreams and dramatizes historical tragedy with a suitable sense of sorrow.” Guy Lodge, Variety, 18/05/2019

  • Krzyzstof Kieslowski Award for the Best Film, Denver International Film Festival, 2019 (USA)
  • Golden Colon for the Best Film, Huelva Latin American Film Festival, 2019 (Spain)
  • Silver Colon for the Best Director, Huelva Latin American Film Festival, 2019 (Spain)
  • Silver Colon for the Best Technical and Artistic Contribution, Huelva Latin American Film Festival, 2019 (Spain)
  • Special Mention for Pamela Mendoza as Best Actress, Lima Latin American Film Festival, 2019 (Peru)
  • Special Jury Prize for the Best Film, Lima Latin American Film Festival, 2019 (Peru)
  • FIPRESCI Prize, Montréal Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, 2019 (Canada)
  • Special Mention – Prix de l’Innovation Daniel Langlois, Montréal Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, 2019 (Canada)
  • CineVision Award for the Best Film By An Emerging Director, Munich Film Festival, 2019 (Germany)
  • Bronze Horse for the Best Film, Stockholm Film Festival, 2019 (Sweden)
  • Best Cinematography, Stockholm Film Festival, 2019 (Sweden)
  • Best Director, Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2019 (Greece)
  • FEISAL Award, Viña del Mar Film Festival, 2019 (Chile)
  • Special Press Jury Award, Viña del Mar Film Festival, 2019 (Chile)
Cast & Credits
Pamela Mendoza, Tommy Párraga, Lucio Rojas, Maykol Hernández, Lidia Quispe
Melina León, Michael J. White
Inti Briones
Pablo Rivas Leyva
Gisella Ramírez
Pauchi Sasaki
La Vida Misma Film
La Mula Producciones, MGC, Bord Cadre Films, Torch Films

Melina León is a Peruvian director based in Lima and New York. She studied film and video at the University of Lima and studied film directing at Columbia University. Her short film El Paraíso de Lili (2009) officially premiered at the New York Film Festival and has been selected at more than 20 international festivals, winning 11 awards, including as Best Latin American Short Film at the São Paulo International Short Film Festival. Her debut feature Song Without a Name (2019) is based on true events: child trafficking in 1980s Peru, a scandal uncovered by Melina León’s father, journalist Ismael León. With the selection of Song Without a Name at the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes, she becomes the first female Peruvian director to be invited to the Festival in Cannes.

  • 2019 – Canción sin nombre
  • 2014 – Text Amy (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2009 – El Paraíso de Lili (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2007 – Girl with a Walkman (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2000 – Una 45 para los gastos del mes (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)