Cuba's Screen Dreams

Hollywood's hits fill Havana's movie theaters. Just don't ask how they got there.

This year's Cuban entry onto the world stage,Nada Más, is being looked at by many as a bellwether. A romantic comedy focused on a Havana mail clerk who steals and then rewrites letters sent from Miami exiles, Nada Másdrew a buzz at Cannes. However, reviewers tended to highlight director Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti's use of surreal special effects, rolling their eyes at his stale riffs on the state bureaucracy. A U.S. distributor has yet to bite.

To Alejandro Rios, director of Miami-Dade Community College's Cuban Cinema Series, the problem speaks to an "artistic crisis" common to many of the island's directors. "Cremata's work is too specific to Cuba," Rios tells Kulchur, and though he considers himself a fan, "an American distributor is looking for a universal point of view, not inside jokes and an obsession with Miami."

With tongue placed in cheek, he quips: "Only in Cuba could you make a love story out of felony mail fraud. If you did that in the United States, you'd spend your whole life in jail." Even more crushing for the film's commercial prospects, el exilio appears to have the same disregard for ICAIC's copyrights that Castro holds for those of Hollywood.

Thais Valdés in Nada Más, Cuba's export to the Miami Film Fest
Thais Valdés in Nada Más, Cuba's export to the Miami Film Fest

Details

Screens Friday, February 28, at 10:00 p.m. at the Regal South Beach Cinema. For information call 305-348-5555.

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"You can rent a copy of Nada Más at any corner store in Little Havana," Rios chuckles.

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