"The Naked Screen" (La Pantalla Desnuda) spotlights how trust and modern technology can instantly ruin someone's life and reputation
A movie review by Oliver Carnay
The movie is exceptionally well crafted with excellent performances from main lead, Columbian actress Paola Baldion who needed three months to learn the Nicaraguan accent before started shooting the film. Originally, she already promised herself not to take anymore dramatic films for a while and try a new genre but this film came and she doesn’t want to pass up a good opportunity. She was shooting another film at that time when her rep forwarded the script of Oscar-nominated Nicaraguan-based writer/director Florence Jaugey, with her second feature film “La Pantalla Desnuda,” and after reading it she fell in love with the role of “Esperanza.” Baldion recalled that she liked the script so much, the role was substantially worth taking and it was really hard for her to refuse.
Also brilliant in the film is Spanish actor Oscar Sinela who was flawless as “Alex,” the rich boyfriend of “Esperanza” and Octavio’s (Roberto Guillen) best friend, who is having a Jekyl-Hyde personality -- engrossed and envious over Alex’s social status.
In this engaging story, the movie is set in a very small city in Nicaragua, where one woman’s scandal and mistake can quickly be magnified upon the judgmental eyes of the society using modern technology gadgets. After Esperanza, against her will, found out that she was being videotaped by Alex (his boyfriend) through his cell phone while they were having an intimate sex, she insisted for him to delete it right away. But Alex was already too drunk to realize his cellphone was stolen later by Octavio and have uploaded the video on the internet, causing chaos with their fellow classmates and soon scandal spread out like wildfire within their small town.
Octavio’s role is as much challenging as Esperanza and Alex. He feels so much resentment about what he doesn’t have in life. He was not happy and rich like his best friend Alex, and takes it out on her dutiful mother (who happens to be the seamstress of Alex’s mom) whenever he is inside the house. He locks up his room using the laptop Alex gave him (and what he used to upload the video on the internet) spends his time alone, cruising over, at some point pretending to be Alex, chatting with Esperanza, instructing her to meet ahead when he found out she is about to elope with Alex. Discovering Octavio of his evil wrong-doings, and finding out about the cellphone, his mother is forced to take matters into her own hands giving Octavio a lesson and a closure, or did he? On the other hand, when trust is tried between two lovers, as in the case of Esperanza and Alex, both have to heal the scars that has created before they can move on.
I do like the ending of this film, which is just but right, considering what should be the fate of each others' characters in the story. Writer-director Florence Jaugey succeeded in creating a film that attracts about the most relevant social issue we currently face, particularly how we use modern technology such as social media and how it affects us, and the disadvantages it could bring if not properly used.
*In 1998, Florence Jaugey's film "Cinema Alcáza" won the Silver Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale. In 2009, Jaugey directed her first feature film, "La Yuma" which was selected as Nicaragua's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.