I don’t expect new viewers to get this, it took a while for me too. But it’s definitely an unexpected watch that feels entirely new.
If you’re new to the story, I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me feels difficult to understand. The film adaptation portrays the novel through abruptly cut sequences, meticulously framed naturalistic frames, and monologue and dialogue that mean more than what’s being said, on top of Juan Pablo’s gradual descent into a criminal network. It’s as disorienting as being in Barcelona feels for Mexican couple Juan Pablo and Val. However, this film feels like a new approach in adapting novels – the multiple perspectives and epistolary portions adeptly portrayed through typed up screens and alternating perspectives (and direction) between the couple. It doesn’t feel like something that you’ve likely seen before.
Being based on a book, I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me needed to be able to portray the novel’s multiple perspectives and occasional epistolary episodes into film. Plenty of the internal streams of thought and dialogue are the means through which the original author slips in commentary. That being said, the film is able to make these dialogues feel like more than just conversations, and these monologues feel more than just preaching. It’s never straightforward, it’s always implying something else. These subtleties are complemented by the editing, the way the film places and removes internal voice overs, the way the start relies on abrupt cuts rather than natural transitions, and the varying paces between Val and Juan Pablo’s perspectives of Barcelona. It’s the careful handling of these subtleties that make the film feel like a puzzle to figure out.