Director: Melina León

Runtime: 1h 37m

Cast: Pamela Mendoza Arpi, Tommy Párraga, Kimberly Grant, Maykol Hernández, Ruth Armas

Synopsis: Peru, at the height of the political crisis of the 1980’s.

Georgina is a young woman from the Andes whose newborn daughter is stolen at a fake health clinic. Her desperate search for the child leads her to the headquarters of a major newspaper, where she meets Pedro Campos, a lonely journalist who takes on the investigation.

Based on a true story.


Melina Leon’s feature directorial debut Song without a Name is inspired by true events. Set in the chaos of 1980s Peru – the time of the Shining Path terrorist insurgency – the result is a heartrending dramatization of a woman’s search for justice. Georgina (Pamela Mendoza) and Leo leave their home in the Andes and head to Lima, seeking a better life for their unborn child. Georgina is tricked by a ‘charity clinic’ offering free maternity services, who remove her baby girl after birth, explaining she has to be taken to hospital for ‘check ups’ and Georgina should come back in the morning. On returning the next day however, she finds the ‘clinic’ has gone and her baby sold for adoption – with fake papers – to wealthy buyers from abroad.

Georgina turns to the press in the hope that someone will help her discover what has happened to her baby. She successfully gains the assistance of a young newspaper reporter, Pedro (Tommy Párraga).

This heartbreaking film, which screened in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2019 and is the first film by a female Peruvian director to play in Cannes, was inspired by a rash of child kidnappings from faux healthcare facilities in 1980s Peru.

The film ends with a dedication to Ismael León, the Director’s father – one of the journalists who founded La República, one of the largest newspapers in Peru. It was founded in 1981 with a headline about child trafficking and Leon’s father was involved in the investigation and told her the story.

A thriller of crime and corruption. The film deals with human trafficking, which still exists. It also raises existential questions, as spoken out loud in a corridor meeting with a lawyer: are the trafficked children of indigenous women much better off now, with a solid future and bound to grow up securely in the home of a prosperous family.

Told with beautiful black and white 4:3 frame dreamlike cinematography by Inti Briones and a notable multi layered score by avant-garde composer Pauchi Sasaki.

Homophobia also raises its ugly head in this Kafkaesque story of crime and corruption, when gay reporter Pedro receives an ugly death threat letter because of his friendship with his neighbour, an up-and-coming actor.

A hauntingly sad story told in dreamlike tones, Song without a Name establishes director/co-writer Melina León as an outstanding and assured talent.

In cinemas.

Images courtesy of Sovereign Film Distribution