Lost in translation
Film. In Nobody’s Watching, an Argentinean actor is lost in New York. Her director tells us a sensitive and funny film about cultural differences and Anglo-Saxons that never look in your eyes.
By Jacques Braunstein
Nico is an Argentinean telenovela actor who came to New York to play in a movie, and most importantly, to escape an insoluble sentimental situation. He was the lover of the producer of the series, otherwise married. But the film is hard to do and his lover raises. So Nico (Guillermo Pfening) scrapes by babysitting the son of an old friend and passes, unsuccessfully, castings.
”Nico lives in the simulacrum, pretending it, this idealized image which is a trap that locks us in ourselves
In this beautifully filmed city, which he stride along on foot and bike, he gradually sinks into depression. Because “nobody looks at it” : “Nobody’swatching”, hence the title of the film. “My film offers different readings of this same idea,” says Julia Solomonoff from New York :
“It’s about a clandestine relationship that must stay out of sight. Searching for the anonymity of a known actor for a program of which he is a little ashamed. But who, when one of his partners arrives in Brooklyn, is jealous that Latinos recognize him in the street. Even when Nico flies into a store in front of the surveillance cameras, he would like someone on the other side to see him. He wants us to record it, to notice it, to recognize it. “
The director preferred that the interview takes place by Skype than by phone. “In New York, we don’t look in the eyes, it isn’t done. We don’t touch each other and I miss it.” She admits. Curiously when it comes to interaction, she, who spoke to us in English, prefers to switch to French. “The Mediterranean culture found in South America is different from the Anglo-Saxon Puritan culture, even if they are two Western cultures. New York is full of immigrants from all over the world, but the dominant culture remains the much more individualistic Puritan culture. “
After studying in New York, Julia Solomonoff returned to Argentina at the time of the economic crisis of the early 2000s. “It was important to be in my country at that time. Then in 2009 I returned to the United States, as a teacher and not as a student, as a mother and not as a nanny… I was able to re-envision my experience from a new perspective. “
With this dual approach, she says : “For me, identity is more related to language than to genes. While for the Americans the identity is deduced from your origins, your sexual orientation …” Before going on by an example : “when Nico is in the park with the baby, he discusses with the Colombian babysitters who find him strange with her blond hair. He does not have the right race for the people he can talk to, and he does not have the right language for the people he should talk to to do his job.”
In the film, Nico spent time to change, to change apartment, to change hair color, as to become his own profile picture… “I did not want to use social media too much, but Nico is very dependent… He lives in the simulacrum, pretending it, this idealized image which is a trap that locks us inside ourselves. In conclusion, Julia Solomonoff notes that the life of her film was a little similar to that of her main character. “When I was looking for funding we were asked if it was a comedy or a drama, a Latin or American film, in English or Spanish, gay or not. And I wanted to create something a little more complex. It seems to me that this is the richness of the film. The future of cinema is in hybridization.”