Stiggy’s Film of the Day Nadie oyó gritar, No One Heard the Scream (1973).

nadie_oyó_gritar cover

The story.

Elisa is a sophisticated woman; affluent, beautiful and very much in control of her own life. She lives in a trendy Madrid apartment and as well as having a much younger lover, Tony, she visits London once a month to visit her sugar daddy. But this month is different, she doesn’t want to travel to London, as she tells her forlorn lover, it’s over. This weekend she is going to stay home alone. The caretaker warns her the apartment building will be empty for the weekend, but that’s ok, she wants some alone time. But then she hears her neighbours arguing, weren’t they supposed to be away for the weekend? Sometimes it’s better to just keep yourself to yourself, and Elisa is about to find out why.

Director, cast and crew.

Eloy de la Iglesia (Cannibal Man, Murder in the Blue World) is an interesting director. A man who made a number of provocative films during his career, struggled with drug addiction, and sadly came to an early demise when cancer claimed him in 2006. This is my first outing with one of his films, however if the standard of Nadie Oyo Gritar is anything to go by I will be visiting some of his other titles very soon. Being released under the Franco regime the film did see some problems with censorship at the time of its release; most likely on the basis that the tale features a number of themes about relationships which go against Catholic values about marriage, as well as a few instances of graphic gore. The film does not boast an extensive cast, but offers a quality in the performances that can often be found in European films of this nature. The chemistry between our two leads Carmen Sevilla as Elisa and Vincente Parra as Miguel is stifling; driving the narrative on through twists and turns, while charging it with sexual energy. Both performances lend the tone an air of believability and mild erotiscm. Supporting roles go to Tony Isbert as the young lover Tony, a relatively minor character but one who certainly strikes a presence; Tony is played out as intense, and loaded up with hormones. There are also some unexpected homoerotic moments between Tony and Miguel which add an extra element of interest. Goyo Lebrero provides some dark comic relief as the deaf, yet extremely nosey, porter. While Miguel’s nagging and suspicious wife Nuria, portrayed by María Asquerino, gives the story a nice scorpion sting.

Production. 

Given the serious tone of the film the production values follow suit. The cinematography follows a thriller line, building up suspense, before opening up the playing field to feature some outside locations and a wider narrative. The camerawork is executed with a technical competence, and makes the most of some of the exterior shots involved; lakeside cottage, roadside scenes, cityscape, and even some shots of vintage swinging London. As well as exploiting Elisa’s sophisticated, yet isolated, apartment as the perfect base to build some terror into the atmosphere. There are some grisly elements involved and these in line with the overall vibe of the film are carried out to suit the mood; not coming over as cheesy or cheap.

The Highs & Lows.

Nadie Oyo Gritar is a fascinating film. It starts off almost like a giallo but then turns into something quite unexpected. Such is the skill of the writers and the director, because it is one of those films you think you get it and it constantly swivels round to slap you in the face. Predominately a thriller, it also delves into sexual politics. Miguel is nagged by his wife; he needs her because he doesn’t make any money as a writer, but takes a lover because his wife does not satisfy him in other ways. Elisa uses her older lover for money, yet needs the energy her young lover Tony supplies. The coming together of these two main protagonists sparks off a strange tale of sexual obsession and murder. Both are interesting characters, and therefore even when there does not seem to be much action going on the dynamic between the two makes for compulsive viewing anyway. The film is not without its moments of suspense, it ticks along nice, building up the unconventional storyline with some claustrophobic moments along the way. As much as it is a tale about murder, it also becomes a tale about two people lost in the world and finding themselves in each other; or does it? Well this is the wonder of the film, and it is one which keeps you guessing right up until those final scenes. The plot is both intelligent and extremely well structured, making it an engrossing watch. It is worth mentioning Nadie Oyo Gritar lacks graphic sex or violence for that matter, but this approach compliments the tone perfectly. As mentioned in the production section there are some grisly elements, and in contrast to the sublimely subtle undercurrent these prove to be even more dreadful when they appear. The suspense mounts to a shocking final act which is worth waiting for.

Verdict. 

A super stylish, sexy and at times gruesome thriller by Spanish director Eloy de la Iglesia; Nadie Oyo Gritar provides intelligent and provocative storytelling at its best. Strongly charged performances from all involved, and a twist which will resonate with you for a very long time, this film is a must for all European film fans.

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Categories: 70's horror, Euro Horror, Reviews

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