‘Here I Am, Here I’m Not’ Bradford International Film Festival
This year the National Media Museum in Bradford became host to the 20th Bradford International Film Festival. Held between 27th March and 6th April 2014, it presented a number of films from around the world. It has been almost two decades since the festival began in 1995 and it is still going strong.
It continues to inspire, entertain and educate visitors and open their eyes to the vast and diverse world of cinema.
The festival provides a showcase for some of the most distinctive pieces in filmmaking and broadcast talent which should be recognised today. The National Media Museum is a great choice of venue for the festival and it portrays the importance of both British and International cinema.
The European premiere of Here I Am, Here I’m Not (Aquí Estoy, Aquí No) was chosen to be part of the official selection at the 20th Bradford International Film Festival. Written and directed by Elisa Eliash, this is her second feature film following I Love You Mum (Mami Te Amo). The Chilean film was nominated for Best Film at the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival in 2012.
The film presents the complex themes of grief and depression with a creative element of rock-and-roll and, surprisingly, even archery.
There are very clear signs that Eliash was freely inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller, Vertigo (1958), throughout the entire film starting from the opening scene. In Vertigo as the title suggests, a former police detective is forced into retirement after an accident causes him to develop vertigo and an immense fear of heights. In Here I Am, Here I’m Not a journalist named Ramiro Hidalgo develops a phobia to speed after being involved in a car accident in which he becomes witness to the death of his best friend. Similar to the events in Vertigo, Ramiro is then hired by a mysterious publisher to follow Chilean rock legend Ana Patricia Jones Ahumada and write her unauthorised biography. As the story progresses, a relationship is formed between them which is abruptly cut short when she tragically dies in a car accident.
This is an interesting plot twist as it reflects the opening scene. Following this, the devastated Ramiro meets Valentina, a young woman who looks almost identical to the rock star who claims to be no relation to her. He tries to make her look even more like Ana Patricia through a number of attempts, one of which involves persuading her to bleach her hair blonde and copy her hairstyle. After watching the film the viewer is left with the question – is this more than a coincidence? The fact that both Ana Patricia and Valentina are played by the same actress, María José Siebald, adds to this notion.
Overall Here I Am, Here I’m Not is a complex film and is open to audience interpretation. Its similarities to Vertigo are possibly more frequent than expected, and it could be claimed to be a foreign version of Hitchcock’s classic, yet highly enjoyable nonetheless.