Netflix has this way of springing occasional surprises, but one has to be on the lookout. Quite often we pass over films that look off-putting by their posters, or even the synopses; but if one accidentally pressed on the remote button – as I did, one could be in for a pleasant surprise. Mexican debutant Fernando Frias de la Parra’s I AM NO LONGER HERE (2019) is one such film that bowled me over with its subject matter and style. A 17-year-old star of a street dance group gets inadvertently mixed up in a mafia mess-up and flees the country to New York as an illegal immigrant. The film adopts a non-linear structure – it constantly cuts between the US and Mexico, and explores the themes of various levels of adjustment to an alien culture – and experiencing alienation in one own’s culture. Brilliantly shot, the cinematography evokes a unique style that is quite ‘studied’. The icing on the cake is a separate 14-minute section where Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro analyse the film like two fanboys.
Not to be missed.