Noise (Ruido) isn’t so much a movie as an emotion, a cry of agony and horror for the lost and disappeared. It’s set in Mexico, but it could be true of any country where the government looks away while money sets the rules and authoritarian regimes terrorize ordinary citizens.
Noise begins with Julia (Julieta Egurrola) standing in a vast wasteland. She’s bereft, lost, alone. The world is out of focus. Her ears ring with pain. Nine months ago her daughter celebrated her graduation from college by going on a vacation with friends. They went out to a bar and she disappeared.
Julia, her ex-husband, and her son Pedro all grieve in their own ways. At first, Julia and her ex try the official route. But after nine months they realize the police don’t even have the correct information in their daughter’s file. They’ve done nothing to find her.
Julia meets a young journalist named Abril Escobedo (Teresa Ruiz) who introduces her to a world where women searching for their daughters, sisters, sons, and mothers work together. They search for women who might have been part of sex traffic networks, for mass graves, for any clue. Sometimes people are found alive, but even finding and identifying a dead person is better than the endless not knowing. Some of the women Julia meets have searched for years.
The women work around the edges of the police and military who are everywhere. They search two weeks out of every month. Las buscadoras Julia meets are not actors. They are real women telling their real stories about the loved ones they’ve lost.
When people protest in the streets against the “macho rapists” running the country, they are hauled away by the police. Their cry of “not one more” goes unheard by the powerful. Over 100,000 are missing in Mexico alone. The film is a co-production with Argentina. Add the number of missing there to that total. Add the rest of Latin American. For good measure, add the number of missing indigenous American women to the total.
There were some horrific scenes in the film. It’s definitely not an easy watch or something to lighten your mood after a hard day. It’s a gut-wrenching demonstration of what comes from the rule of money (as opposed to the rule of law) and a devolution into authoritarianism.
Noise was written and directed by Natalia Beristain. The actress playing Julia is her mother. Both are well known in Mexico. You can see this one on Netflix. The trailer is on YouTube. If you watch it, please share your thoughts in the comments.