Nada is a small art comedy shot in black and white with splashes of color. It tells the story of Carla, a Havana postal worker whose parents swam from Mexico to America while on vacation when she was 15—she was left behind in Cuba to raise herself. Now an adult, life is mostly drudgery for her. She spends her days stamping envelopes and listening in on other people’s conversations at the post office. At nights, she’s often cornered by her neighbor, trapped listening to her diatribes on life and fate. Other times, she receives calls from her mother in Miami, who implores Carla to be patient…a visa will come. You’ll make it to America too someday.
Carla’s imagination is awoken one day when she accidentally stains a letter while stamping it. She takes it home to dry it. Curiosity causes her to read it, and it starts a project that becomes her obsession: rewriting people’s letters and cards to make them clearer and more poetic. I’ve read in places that people think that Carla is a kind of Cuban Amélie. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t seen that film. I don’t think I’d like it, and I didn’t really like this one either. While the movie does have its moments—I think Thais Valdés does a great job as Carla—, the whole thing was too goofy for me. Characters are over the top, situations that are meant to be funny left me cold, and I wanted to see so much more of Havana. Particularly irritating to me was a cross-eyed, militaristic postal assistant, who chased down Carla’s cigarette butts and played tackle with Carla’s boyfriend over a box of stolen letters. She had kind of a psycho Ruth Buzzi thing going. Also, the fascist postal master screams a bit too much for my quiet-loving tastes. And with only 20 minutes left in the film, my finger was really twitching towards the fast-forward button.