Audiences have more likely than not been searching through streaming services and video on demand to find a new release this year rather than frequenting the theater. It may mean we’ve discovered some low-budget gems that would not have had much of a cinematic release, if any. Dan Rubenstein‘s micro-budget directorial debut Noemí Gold is one of the latest films looking to gain more attention from cinephiles staying at home.
Noemí (Catalina Berarducci) is in her late twenties and has been using medication to try and get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Unfortunately, the pills she has been taking are causing side effects and making her feel ill, so she attempts to find another way of terminating the pregnancy. However, she is unable to raise the money for abortion as it is too expensive. Noemí’s slightly overbearing roommate Rosa (Martina Juncadella) tries to help her by accompanying Noemí on walks and taking her out to bars, but this does not give her any real comfort. The visit of her cousin David (portrayed by Rubenstein) from Los Angeles brings little solace either. He is more concerned with his job posting images and videos on Instagram for an energy drink company than giving any attention to Noemí. As Noemí attempts to navigate her way through her difficulties, she becomes more overwhelmed by the people around her.
Noemí Gold seems to be most concerned with observing modern life. Noemí is subtly contemptuous of David incessantly using his phone and even remarks on his inability to enjoy the moment rather than documenting it through photos or videos. It is something I’m sure some audiences will identify with whether they have experience it amongst their friends or are guilty of the same behaviour. The film also subtly mocks Noemí’s so-called pretentious friends. They appear to have an interest in art, and one particular visual art performance comes across as self-indulgent nonsense to Noemí and the audience; however, Rosa genuinely expresses a cliche opinion in favor of the performance, which some audiences are likely to have heard in certain situations. As there is no definitive plot, the artistic aspects of the film don’t support anything and therefore seem meaningless. Even so, Tebbe Schöningh‘s cinematography stands out, creating the feeling of being trapped and engulfed by trouble with many close-up shots of Noemí in confined spaces. Berarducci’s sombre performance adds further interest as the audience observe her feelings within these frames. However, other aspects like the musical synthwave score and colourful hues might sound and look nice, but don’t ultimately complement anything.
It may be that Rubenstein should have been more restrained in his approach to this project and focused more on developing the script and direction. It’s possible whatever intention Rubenstein had with this film could have been more clearly expressed. As it is, Noemí Gold might have moments of intrigue, but overall ends up being disappointing than not.