When reclusive sheep farmer Memo (Jorge Garcia) has his daily routine disrupted by both the injury suffered by his uncle Braulio (Luis Gnecco) and the arrival of delivery girl Marta (Millaray Lobos), he is forced to confront an incident from his past that connects him with famous child singer Angelo Cassas (Gastón Pauls). As press attention grows after Marta films Memo singing and old faces begin to resurface, his resentment towards Angelo begins to consume him.
Director Antillo, who also wrote the film’s script, initially plays his cards close to his chest regarding the nature of Memo’s traumatic past. Instead, he prefers to establish the character’s sense of isolation on his remote island home, only hinting at Memo’s former life through the inclusion of fantasy sequences of him performing on stage and scenes of him breaking into the houses of wealthier residents, as if to taste the life which he was denied. This approach allows Garcia to convey Memo’s introverted personality and suppressed rage in a subtle, naturalistic manner, making his sudden bursting into song a surprise not only for Marta, but also the audience.
The events which led Memo to his current life in exile are not particularly unique, covering the same darker aspects of show-business as many other films such as Singin’ In The Rain. However, their piecemeal depiction is impressive, with the recreations of archive VHS footage lending an authenticity to these flashbacks similar to the visual aesthetic of 2012’s No.
This attention to cinematography can be seen in later sequences, where paparazzi camera and drone footage of Memo wandering through a nearby forest make him seem like the mythological Bigfoot-esque monster that the public see him as. In addition, the performances of the supporting actors, particularly Lobos and Pauls, who convincingly embodies Angelo’s disingenuous nature upon finally meeting Memo, are all excellent and help to reinforce the intensity of Garcia’s performance.
However, the short running time results in some aspects being elided, with the public discovery of Memo leading to the narrative abruptly jumping to the arrangement of the supposed reconciliation between Memo and Angelo, with little build up to the event. This results in seemingly crucial elements, such as how this plot development affects the relationship between Memo and Marta and Memo’s relationship with his estranged father, being quickly glossed over in order for the film to reach its climax as quickly as possible. In addition, the final confrontation between Memo and Angelo feels similarly rushed, with little time given to gradually increase the tension between the two and the scene’s conclusion coming across as somewhat abrupt.
Nobody Knows I’m Here is an interesting take on the darker side of fame with a compelling lead performance. However, its rushed pacing results in some of its narrative and character development being sidelined in favour of reaching the next story beat in as short a time as possible.