Netflix started 2023 with the launch of a Mexican film that has caused bursts of applause, tears and praise at several film festivals.
“Noise,” originally called “Ruido,” a Spanish-language film written and directed by Natalia Beristain and starring Julieta Egurrola, Teresa Ruiz and Arturo Beristain, hit Netflix this month and has now become a top 10 favorite in most Latin American countries.
The story centers on Julia (Egurrola), a mother searching for her daughter, Gertrudis, who disappeared nine months ago. Realizing the lack of cooperation and attention given to the case by authorities, she decides to take action and search on her own. Abril Escobedo (Ruiz), a journalist, helps Julia with external sources to find her daughter.
As said in an interview conducted by Netflix Queue, Natalia Beristain revealed the plot is based on the true stories of many people, especially the mothers of the missing victims. At the same time, it realistically portrays labor negligence, corruption and even the direct participation of judicial and governmental authorities in these criminal cases.
Although the film takes place in Mexico, it demonstrates the terrifying reality of most Latin American countries, and even in the U.S., meaning this issue is not foreign to anyone.
According to the National Crime Information Center, 521,705 were reported missing in 2021, and according to Child Find of America, 2,300 children are reported missing every day in the U.S.
Before watching this film, you must keep the phrase “real events” in mind at all times. Otherwise, there’s a higher probability you will lose sight of fundamental details, especially at the beginning of the film: to empathize with Julia, to understand her existential crisis and her effort to alleviate her pain.
An interesting aspect of this film is that Egurrola, whose great acting is worth mentioning, and Arturo Beristain are the real parents of the director of this film. This off-screen relationship combined with the on-screen story and the cast’s impressive performances throughout the film leaves an even stronger and more intimate, emotional message.
The film also shows real-life examples and an inside look at events happening in Mexico such as the 8M (March 8) protests that take place every year in the country. It also shows a direct approach to many collective groups, mostly composed of women, who are searching for their relatives on their own.
“Voz y Dignidad Por Los Nuestros SLP A.C.” is a civil association that promotes a legal framework for the search of missing persons along with the accompaniment of other families.
One of the organization’s main search techniques, which is seen in the film, is to search for clandestine graves in abandoned areas near the San Luis Potosi area. In 2019, it received an award from the State Human Rights Commission.
Like all movies, “Noise” has some flaws in both the plot and execution of the film. Although it doesn’t interfere with the main theme, there are things they could have improved upon to send that intended message in the most effective way possible.
Going back to the beginning of the movie, I must warn that it goes very slow during the first 20 to 30 minutes. It feels boring at times, and therefore it becomes difficult to understand as well.
But the open ending is the most debatable part. It can be a reflection for some but an inconclusive closing for others. That is, depending on your own understanding of the story, you can assume the conclusion you like the most.
Long story short, “Noise” is a work of art. It deserves every recognition and all the support, as its heartbreaking and painful message brutally shows you the constant agony that engulfs many families who have lost a loved one. It can fill you with anger and helplessness to the point of creating a lump in your throat— but that’s the point.
“Noise” is a reminder, an analysis of all the social problems that, unfortunately, have become more common to see in Mexico and other Latin American countries. It is a letter from the Mexican people to the world to never forget that we still, socially speaking, have a lot to work on to bring peace back to the country.
The message is clear: if we want this world to be a better place, we must keep making noise.