DIRECTOR: FERNANDO PEREZ STARRING: JOSE RAUL CASTRO, ISABEL SANTOS, LAURA DE LA UZ RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 40 MINUTES
A car accident. The victim is Nelsito, a 16 year old autistic teenager, who has runaway from home. From his stretcher and through his imaginary pen, Nelsito reveals the dark and hidden side of all those around him.
Nelsito’s World is the International Feature submission for Cuba. The film is centred on an autistic 16 year old boy, Nelsito. He spends his time mostly at home with his mother, Ana, a divorced artist who’s struggling to sell her paintings. Ana’s friends keep telling her that she should send Nelsito away to an institution, where he can be watched and monitored 24/7. He can potentially receive the care that he needs but Ana refuses to admit her son to a hospital. She knows that his place is at home with her.
One day, as Ana rushes out to do some errands, she accidentally leaves the door open. Nelsito takes advantage of the situation in order to have just one moment of freedom. A moment of liberation. But the outside world isn’t an easy place for him to be solo, and soon after he’s struck by a car as he wanders into the street. Needing emergency care, he’s rushed to the hospital. As the doctors try to figure out what to do next with him, in regards to treatments and medication, Nelsito begins to imagine a brand new world.
Nelsito is unable to live like most kids his age. He can’t perform tasks without the help of his mother. He feels stifled and repressed and he’s desperately trying to be the hero in his own life. But the one thing that he’s able to do is to mentally write stories inside his head. All the neighbours in his apartment complex all play major roles in the narratives that he has created. As he’s unfamiliar with what lies outside the small borders of his life, Nelsito fabricates wild stories ranging from murdering women, scam artists, troublesome kids, runaway grandmas and more.
Nelsito will forever be unable to escape his own body. There is no cure, there is no easy ending. He’s a man stuck in a lifelong chain attached within the confines of his home. His mental health, his isolation can be unbearable. But despite all the darkness, the beauty of the film lies in a sense of community with the people that surrounds him. His mind, his story-telling, his few moments of feeling absolute free is what makes him smile at the end of the day. He has accepted who he is as a person and he knows that all he has to do is to follow the straight line and he will be ok.
Nelsito's mind has created a world filled with independence and hope.