Movie Rated: 18+ (Language, Substance)
Beneath all the Extractions and the 6-Undergrounds, Netflix has an array of beautiful festival films that offer a lot of warmth and meaning when explored. When the platform put out their ideas behind acquiring these little gems and porting them across the globe, film buffs had reasons to be excited. One of these many offerings come in the form of I’m No Longer Here, a touching and realistic tale that talks about immigration, poverty, lifestyle, culture, humanity and more.
What’s the story about?
I’m No Longer Here follows Ulises, an odd-looking 17-year-old who resides in a village near Monterrey, Mexico. Ulises lives with his mom and siblings, enjoying his small world with fellow musicians and dancers, known as the Terkos. The Terkos are a gang who dress very uniquely, with hairstyles that do not belong to the commoners. However, an unfortunate incident lands Ulises into a violent gang, turning his life over as he has to flee his own land to the streets of New York to save his life. Without even knowing a word of English and with little knowledge about the world outside his own, Ulises travels to the immigrant community, with hope and humanity keeping him alive ultimately.
Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino (who plays Ulises), is a perfect match to the character. Though his dialogues and actions are minimal and repetitive, he brings in a different shade every time, which helps us follow the growth of the character. In the portions of the film where he plays the immigrant, Juan does his job to the T, and is ably supported by Angelina Chen (who plays Lin), a wonderfully sketched character who starts adding purpose to his life. The rest of the characters come and go, but it is always Juan who takes the cake.
Director De La Parras takes his own sweet time to establish the two sides of the story, making us understand the milieu in full by just showing characteristics of the people and the surroundings. The film demands a lot of patience from the viewer, but if you are willing to sit back and soak it in, there is content to be enjoyed. The fabulous visual language of the film also strikes the right chords time and again, and with a myriad of colours streamed in, it is superb to watch.
Music and Other Departments
Being a film with music at its core, I’m No Longer Here delivers a lot of Cuban music to gorge on, right from the word go. The cinematography too is astounding with some shots so beautifully created, you will be left in awe.
Juan’s performance, the milieu and the technical departments all stand strong in this film.
The pacing of the film will be a turn off for those used to mainstream entertainment. This is more of a festival film targeting a niche audience.
Did I enjoy it?
As a laid-back watch, I didn’t mind this. Enjoyed the cinematography, particularly.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. You might be able to find more beauty in it if you have developed a liking for such films.