As 2023 approaches its end, “Nowhere,” a Spanish mother-baby survival thriller, claims the title of the most-viewed non-English title, be it a film or series, of the year on Netflix. With an impressive 77.9 million views, “Nowhere” secures its position as Netflix’s second most-watched non-English movie of all time, trailing only behind Norway’s “Troll,” which holds 141.6 million hours.
Produced by Miguel Ruz and executive producer Jordi Roca at their Madrid-based production company, Rock & Ruz, “Nowhere” marks a significant achievement, especially considering it’s the first title from the production house. The film’s success follows their earlier collaboration on “The Paramedic” (“El Practicante”), featuring Mario Casas, which also found a home on Netflix.
Directed by Albert Pintó, “Nowhere” unfolds in a dystopian Spain where extreme resource shortages lead to drastic measures, including culling the elderly, pregnant women, and children. The story revolves around a couple, played by Anna Castillo and Tamar Novas, attempting to escape the oppressive regime.
The plot takes an unexpected turn when the pregnant woman finds herself alone in a floating container after being separated from her partner.
What sets “Nowhere” apart is its unique survival narrative, akin to “Castaway” and “The Room,” blended with elements of “MacGyver” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Stuck in the container with unconventional items like Tupperware, television sets, earbuds, and rubber ducks, the protagonist faces challenges and employs ingenious solutions to survive.
The film’s universal success is evident in its viewership in 61 countries, making it Netflix’s top non-English film. Ruz attributes this success to the decision to focus on one person’s primal instincts for survival, creating a story that transcends specific political or social contexts. Despite not receiving theatrical releases or extensive marketing efforts, Netflix’s trust in the film and its algorithm played a crucial role in its global appeal.
While “Nowhere” is a survival-dystopian film, Ruz emphasizes the emotional construction of the story, which enables it to resonate with audiences worldwide. The film’s unexpected popularity has even led to a trend in some countries, with people wearing rubber ducks on their heads as a symbol of hope inspired by the movie.
The film’s success and potential for a sequel demonstrate the global appeal of well-crafted narratives that resonate with viewers on an emotional level. As Netflix continues to invest in diverse and engaging content, “Nowhere” stands as a testament to the platform’s ability to reach audiences across borders.