Habana Instant (2015) - full transcript

Marcelo Quevedo and his brother Carlos Quevedo (Charlie) were split in their childhood twenty years back, when Carlos departed Cuba on a boat with his mother during the Balseros crisis in 1994 seeking a different life. Marcelo instead was burdened with a heavy duty staying in Cuba to care for his grandfather who was in poor health. Distance wasn't the only issue that marked the separation between the two brothers but the terrible loss of their mother who couldn't endure the tough adventure and passed away in the middle of the ocean. Twenty years later in 2014, Carlos Quevado decides to go back to Cuba to re-encounter his brother only to find that he now faces a terminal disease that slowly immobilizes him to the point of a vegetative state. Never the less, the two brother's re-encounter represents an emotional roller coaster and a journey that oscillates between love, joy, truth, resentment and forgiveness, leading Marcelo and Carlos to a magical "Habana Instant" that soon dissipates with an inevitable farewell that splits them apart; but this time forever.

(random sound effects)

(drowned out drum music)

(Spanish singing and drum music)


How much do you charge me

if you don't have a taximeter?

(Spanish singing and drum music)

What about my luggage?

All right, all right.

So, how much do I owe you?


- [Taxi Driver] 50, 50.

This good?

(quiet instrumental music)

(speaking in foreign language)

(doorbell ringing)

Is this Marcelo's home?



Are you Marcelo?

Yes, I'm Marcelo.

I'm Charlie.


Charlie, your brother.

Happy birthday, man.

I don't know who you are.

You don't remember me?

What are you doing here?

I came to see you.

I came to celebrate
your birthday with you.

After 23 years you want to
celebrate my birthday...

I don't know you, I
don't know who you are.

I don't know you.

Nobody wants you here, you
don't belong to this place.

So leave.

My brother Carlos...

Talked to me in Spanish,
he was a real person.

He wasn't this.

You don't belong to
this place, so please...

Close the door and just leave.

I may not speak to you in Spanish...

Cause I don't remember how.

But I remember this house,

I remember mom taking
care of us, right here...

(loud commotion)

What do you want?

Huh, what do you want?

I came to see you.

I just wanted to be closer to you.

So you want to be closer to me now, huh?

You want to be with me...



Why now and not before it?


What's the difference, I don't...

You want to be closer to me because

you feel bad for me, because
you feel sorry for me?

Is that what it is?

Well guess what, I don't need your pity,

I don't need your money,
I don't want you here.

You don't belong here, so leave
this place right now please.

You took everything I was
when you left, everything.

So just get the fuck out of here

and keep it to yourself!

Leave right now, get the fuck out of here!

Get the fuck out of here!

You took mom away.

Just get out of here.

(somber ambient music)

(speaking in foreign language)

For you?

Thank you, I was actually
getting really thirsty.



What the hell is this?

It's just rum.

Drink more, you'll need it.


Are you hungry or what?

- [Charlie] No.

I mean I was thirsty,

but you gave me whatever that was.

I think you don't need that.


Telling my phone?

What do you know about email,
I was sending an email.

The service sucks here, horrible.

You know where you are?



Repeat after me, Cu-ba.

But I think you don't understand that.

This is not the place where
you come to check your emails

or take photos of yourself
outside of your friends.

I mean...


And how am I supposed to know that, huh?

You're from here, I'm not from here.

She's from here, everybody's from here.

You are from here, even
if you don't remember it.

I brought you some water.

Real water.

I'm Karla, Marcelo's fiance by the way.

And she's my friend Yamila.

- [Yamila] Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too.

I was the one who sent
you the email, remember?

- [Charlie] Yeah.


Everything's been
shocking for him, for me,

for all of us.

But he loves you.

He's happy.

Kid, like a kid.

Just give him some time.

Nice to meet you.

You understand?

No wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

My name's Charlie by the way, okay?



Nice to meet you, but my name's Charlie.


My name is Robert.

Roberto, Bobby.

Ciao, Carlos.

(catchy jazzy instrumental music)

What is that?

It's coffee.

I don't drink coffee.

I mean I'll have some decaf
later, but the weather's...

What do you say, decaf?

That's for women, no?

Listen, I want to tell you something--

No, no, let me talk.

I don't think you understand

the rhythm and the speed of time here.

23 years...

Feel like 50, you know?

In this place.

And all this time I've...

I've only had one thing
in my mind, one thing.


The hope to see you again, you know...

To be like this with you again...

To answer all my questions, you know?

All the why's that I have here in my mind.

Why did mom take you in
that boat and not me, why?

Why were you the last person who saw her,

what makes you different than me?

And you know, it's weird, it's...

It's so weird because

anytime I see this in front of me,

it brings love and hatred.

And sometimes you know, it's
a weird mix inside of me

because the last time I saw you,

and the last time I saw
mommy was right there.

It was right there.

You guys were jumping on a boat.

But at the same time this is...

This is all I have.

This is my memories with
you and with mommy, you see?

This is all I have.

I did everything I had to
do, I took care of grandpa...

I learned a language...

I learned English because
I wanted to be able

to talk to you.

I wanted you to feel proud of me.

But it never happened.

It never happened because
you never came back.

You never called, you forgot
everything about your family,

you forgot everything about me,

you forgot your language.

You lost everything.

Now you've come back and...

And I don't know what to do.

Hey papa.

Forget it.

The Alzheimer has taken away his mind.

I don't know why I insist, you know?

Sometimes I want him to
understand certain things

and he'll never get it.

You know what they say?


Never give up hope.



Where do you hear that?

Not in this neighborhood.

I bet home is quite different
than this for you, huh?


It's a little different.

- [Marcelo] Where do you live now?

I live in New York.

Wow, New York.

New York, New York huh?

The Big Apple.

It's more like the Crazy Apple.

I always wanted to go there.

I used to dream about
walking the New York streets,

among the crowd, seeing
all those buildings...


I know what you mean.

But believe me, it can be
really exhausting after a while.

- [Woman] Marcelo!

God, Celia.

My neighbor.

She wants some congri that
I've been saving for her.

What do you mean "saving"?

Well yeah, her fridge is broken, you know?

So I've been saving this in mine.


What was that?

That, that's her lift system.

Come with me and let me show you around.


Carli, come with me.

So this is gonna be your room.

You sure you want to stay here?

I mean, I can get something
better for you if you want.

No, no, no, no, I mean this is the...

I want to stay here with you and grandpa,

I mean that was the whole point, you know?

This is actually really cool, I like it.

Hey, do you have WiFi?

I mean, I've gotta...

You've gotta be kidding.


Can I take a shower?

Yeah, I can get some water for you.

What do you mean?

See, I told you our system works.

This is our elevator, you know?

This is for you to take a shower.

Try to be quick, because we
have something going on later.

(catchy Spanish music)


What about it?



Is your brother?

Give your hand your brother.

Give your hand.

He said that no matter, you are brother.

You are the same blood.

It's more heavy than water.

You understand?

(singing and drumming music)

Are you okay?


Sometimes this kinda party
is a little disturbing.

A lot of energy is combined
together in one place, you know?

You know what's the story...

That's going on in my mind right now?

Feeling lost.

I have no control whatsoever.

Who told you that you
have to be in control?

I guess that's just the
way I've always been.

It's the way I learned how to survive.

You know what's funny?

I always thought I was
a survivor, until today.

(sighing) So many things
I wasn't even aware of.

So many things I had to block
out of my mind and erase,

just to be me, just to
be apart of something,

just to belong to something.

You know, all this...

It's always been in me.

Just tormenting me,
sometimes inspiring me.

Today for the first time when I saw

Marcelo and my grandfather

at the house and I couldn't block it.

I'm actually afraid...


I'm feeling the love.

I don't know how to handle it, you know?

(soft instrumental music)

(catchy jazzy music)

Breakfast ready.

We were lucky enough
to get some eggs today.

Looks delicious.

Well enjoy it.

This is not a typical
breakfast in this home.

Usually we only get some
bread and coffee, you know?

(dog barking)


Did you get some rest?

- [Charlie] Oh yeah, I slept like a baby.

Marcelo told me you live in New York.

Yeah, that's right.

What do you do there?

I work on systems.

- [Karla] Systems?

Yeah, I design these
"ingenious" programs for banks.

It's boring, it's boring.

What about you guys?

What do you do, Marcelo?

I was teaching English at the University.

You know, trying to make a living.

But I had to drop...

- [Charlie] Why?


Things happened.

It's better now, you know?

I have more time to focus on my writing.

Small fact, I got my degree in literature.

What about you?

I study medicine...

And came here from Venezuela
to get my specialization

in Neurology.

That's actually how I met Marcelo.


You were treating him?

Marcelo, listen...

Karla was the one who sent me

the email explaining everything.

I just came to support you, that's all.

Hey take it easy brother, take
it easy brother it's okay.

Hey, Marcelo...

I just came to help.

I came here to support you
in the process, that's all.

I don't need your support.

I'm doing very well, thank you.

You know, him and I...

We have been doing very well
all these years without you.

You haven't even cared about
his medicine or his food

all this time, so...

Why would you come and support
me now, because I'm fucked?

Let me be clear about something.

I have a life too.

I have problems too, you know?

What makes you think that I
have less problems than you?

What kind of problems do you have

besides dealing with
your shitty bank system

and your fucking credit cards?

You see, you see right there?

You don't get it, you don't even know

what the fuck you're talking about!

You think my life's perfect, huh?

I'm sorry, of course I wouldn't understand

because I couldn't make
it over there, right?

Because I never got across, right?

Is that what you mean?

Is that what you mean?

No, no, no, no, no.

- [Marcelo] That's what you're saying.

No, no, that's not what I meant.

Well then explain it to me please.

Ah, you wouldn't understand.

If you explain it, I'm not retarded.

So just tell me, I want to know everything

about your problems.

Please tell me.


It wasn't my decision
to jump on that boat.

I was five.

It wasn't my fault that
mom died on the boat.

You think it's been easy
for me to live with that?

You have no fucking idea what it is

to try and fit into a
place that's not yours.

You have no fucking idea.

I've always been alone.

With nobody.

So you said that you
came here to support me,

okay, good.

For how long are you willing
to take care and support me?

How long will your vacation in Cuba be?

Are you willing to stay here

and take care of him when I'm gone?

Marcelo, Marcelo, Marcelo!


I don't understand this culture.

It's against my principles, you know?

I'm a doctor.

When I met him...

I couldn't imagine he was
going to be diagnosed with ALS.

It's been eight months since then.

And he has been having
these kinds of crisis...

And his case is a very delicate case

because he's under the average age,

and of course he doesn't
want to take his medicine,

he doesn't want to go to therapy.

He was all into sports, and dancing...

He had so many dreams.

And when I got to know about them,

when he told me about those dreams...

I fell in love with him.

I don't want to imagine
how my life is gonna be

when he's not around anymore.

He's gonna be dying.

Little by little.

That's actually what hits me the most.

I would like to remember him

just the way he is now.



Always happy.

And sooner than later
he's gonna be a vegetable.

I don't want to see him like that.

Roberto, he's all about it...

He's taken him to the river...

To the ocean...

He does a lot of things
that I don't understand.

But if that's gonna be
better than science...

If that's gonna help him somehow...

I just want him to be okay.


He just needs to sleep a
little bit, you understand?

Mhm, yeah, yeah.

Don't worry, don't worry.

He will be fine.

You know who used to say that?

My mom.

She used to say something about a...

Para something.

There you go.

You see?

- [Charlie] Still remember.

See you.

See you man.

I also have to go to the hospital.

I have medical practice all day and night.

You gotta take care of Marcelo.

Okay, I think I can do that.

I also left some food in
the kitchen for Sixto,

can you feed him?

I mean, well...

I don't know how, I mean...

It's not a big deal,

you just have to make
sure he gets his food

in two hours, that's it.

Yeah, but I don't know how
to communicate with him.

No one knows how to communicate with him,

and I really don't
think he cares about it.

Just put the food on the
stove and heat it up,

that's it.

And if he wants to go to the bathroom,

he will let you know.

Just make sure he's clean afterwards.

We don't have toilet paper,
but you can use this.


See you.

Wait, wait, wait, wait,
wait, wait, wait...

But that means...

How do I know when he
needs to use the bathroom?

He usually says "cagar".

Ca what?



You got it, you're gonna be okay.

Don't worry, bye!

- [Sixto] Cagar!

(drum instrumental music)

I really don't know how to do this...

But if you help me...

If you help me it could be simple, easy.



You have to eat.

It's been four hours, four hours!

You were supposed to eat two hours ago.

You have to put food in your body.

You understand?

Okay, Marcelo, Marcelo...

Marcelo's not here to do it, okay?

But I'm here to do it.

You know it's really weird for me.

I know it's weird for you too.

But, you have to eat.


You like it?

Here, here's another one.

(calming piano music)

- [Marcelo] Come on wake
up man, don't be lazy.

Breakfast has been waiting for you

on the table for a while.

I tried to made it as heavy as possible

because I know it's an important
meal for you back home.

You made this?

I did.

- [Charlie] What are you writing?

It's poetry.


- [Marcelo] Yeah.

That's kinda old fashioned.

What do you mean old fashioned?

I mean poetry, who reads poetry?

How you gonna sell it?


You think I'm doing this
because I want to sell it?

Well how are you gonna make money then?


You can't try to make
money out of this, really?

I mean, in this state of my life

you think I want to
make money out of this?


If I ever make money with this...

Where am I gonna enjoy it?

And let's suppose if I
make money before I die,

nobody will want to hang out with me,

not even Karla.

No, I'm not doing this for money,

I'm doing it for me, you know, because...

I want to put it out there.

Just want to spit it out there, you know?

Well you never told me what it's about it.

It's about...

A moment in this place and this city...

An instant in Habana.


I've always been intrigued
by the speed of time here,

you know?

The rhythm of everything
here is different.

Think about it.

It's like, everything,
the time, even us...

Everything is encapsulated
in the present moment.

That's all we have.

Those moments, our memories,
our dreams, our passion...

How could everything be so ephemeral

in a place like this
where things last forever.

That's actually pretty good,

that's actually pretty good!

I didn't know you were
so passionate about it.

(somber ambient music)

I have an idea.

Let me help you write it.


Come on, you can tell me the words

and then I can put it on paper.

What do you think?

I mean I don't know Spanish, you know...

But you tell it to me in English

and then I could write it.

Then I could learn Spanish at some point,

you know, I can translate it.

We could have it in both languages.

Weren't you the one to
tell me about all this

time is ephemeral and all that nonsense?


Come on man, we don't have that much time.

Let's get to work.


In the ephemeral context of eternity...

But not in this context,

not in this place.

Not in this island where
things last forever.

Or time is a mere formality.

And the clock is ticking,

even if you place it in
the middle of nothing.

Eternity and the present moment

are melted together in this place.

This place has a very
unique and complex quality

of being surrounded by water.

That quality is a blessing.

But it's also a curse sometimes.

Yeah, listen, um...

I'm just changing some
things around you know...

To improve the material.

To improve the material.


I mean...

You know, English isn't
your first language.

Neither is yours.

Yeah, but...

I grew up with it.

Oh, yeah, yeah, you're right.

And so therefore you're
superior than me right?

Because you grew up over there.

No, that's not what I'm saying.

Well what are you saying then?

I'm trying to make the material the best.

Fuck you man, fuck you!

Who do you think you are, huh?

Jose Marti?

But it's always the same with you,

it's always the same thing...

Fuck you this and fuck you that and...

The question is...

What are we without those memories?

What's an instant if not life?

This is my friend.


What's an instant but our life...

What is an instant...

But what we experience and
we'll be there forever.

That's the beauty in this place, that...

The magic and the fact
that we are who we are

and we exist only in the present...

Not in the past...

Not in the future...

But our existence resides
in this precise moment.

The question is...

Who are we without those memories?

What are we without those moments?


Why are you looking at me like that?

Believe it or not you
actually have some talent.

Well believe it or not you don't

have any talent, you know?

Are you all right?

I'm gonna beat your
ass when I feel better,

I'm just letting you know.


I'm just letting you know--

Yeah right.

Just watch your back, watch your back.

Watch your--

You're not gonna do nothing.

What can you do, huh?

You'll feel it, you'll feel it.

You'll feel it slowly coming to you.


(catchy drum music)

- [Charlie] Hey, hey, take it easy.

It's not cripple safe man.

Only cripple here is you man,

I don't see you dancing around.

Forget about it.


Nothing, nothing.

(chuckling) You know I know
what maricon means, right?

Don't you see she's so into you?


How do you know that?


What do you mean?

She couldn't be more obvious.

Look at the way she's smiling at you.

I don't think that's gonna
go like past friendship.

Well I can see it going past friendship,

what are you gonna do about it, huh?

You're leaving tomorrow
morning, don't you?

What do you mean?

Well, you have to do something
about it don't you think?

Well yeah.

- [Marcelo] Then...

I don't know, I guess I
could exchange some contact

and just stay in touch I guess.

What are you an idiot?


Just look at her, she's
flirting at you man.

I know, I know, I know.

- [Marcelo] And she's hot, right?

I know.

Well then dance with her, do something.

I don't know how to dance.


Well you can learn.

Mm, I can't, I can't.

What do you mean you can't?

What do you mean you can't?

If I can dance then you can dance, right?

I'm the cripple, not you.

Am I right?

Am I right?

No, just leave me alone.

Okay, okay, go.

I'll have to you know,
show you how to be a man.

- [Charlie] Oh really?

- [Marcelo] Yeah.

- [Charlie] Yeah, you
want a cane with that?

- [Marcelo] Cane, you want to see a cane?


I'll show you a...

Wanna dance?


Okay, I gotta warn you though...

I have no idea what I'm doing.



Oh my God.

Well I'm a very bad
teacher but I will try.


You put your hand here...


Yeah, here.

Actually like here and...

You are going to--

Like this, like this close?

- [Friend] One, two,
three, this is very close.

Actually more closer, don't worry.




Oh, okay, okay, all right.

(speaking in foreign language)

What is this?

It's for eat.

It's no poison, eat it.


No, I believe you, believe you.

Believe me, believe me.

You don't have options.


Very good.

Understand, yucca?


Ay, ay, take it easy, take
it easy, take it easy.

I'm just trying to help.

No, no, no, he don't need help.

I know him, tranquilo.

- [Charlie] Why is he
so stubborn, I mean...

He tried to show everybody
that all is okay, all the time.

- [Charlie] For how
long have you known him?

How long?

10, 11, 12...

12 years.


Wow, eh?

Many years huh, 12.

That's incredible, the time goes by.


I know him since I was a child.

Marcelo's like my brother, you understand?

It's not like my brother,
it's more than my brother.

It's my blood, it's my blood.

We have many stories.

In Cuba...

The people is like a great family.

For example, if you is my friend...

And you don't have food, I give you.

You understand?


In New York, you have
many friends in New York?


I mean it's different, but you know...

- [Roberto] It's different?

I have a lot of friends.

It's a great city.

- [Charlie] Mhm, mhm,
yeah, it's beautiful.

What time are you leaving tomorrow?

Six o'clock in the morning.


Why so early?

I gotta work in the morning.

My time off is over.



I've been meaning to tell you something.

I really, really enjoyed
the time here with you.

Can I tell you something?

Yeah, of course.

When I met Marcelo the first time...

We had a conversation about family.


I told him about my family
and explained to him

that I miss my family around,

I miss them so, so much.

That was when he told me
about you the first time.

He was emotional and...

He just wanted to have
his little brother around

when you were kids.

You made his dream come true.

(car honking)

Well I have to go...


(somber piano music)

Okay, I forgot you don't like the rice.

I'll take off the rice, okay?

What are you doing here?

You can't see?

Please, please don't tell
me you're going blind too

because that would be like
the cherry on top, no?

Your coffee and breakfast
are on the table.

You have to go back to your office.

I quit.

You quit...

How do you quit?

Do you send an email from your phone?

- [Charlie] Well I guess I got fired then.

What's your plan now?

I have no plans.

- [Marcelo] What?

What, what?

You have no plans.

- [Charlie] That's correct.

Well that's so weird, don't you know?

For how long are you gonna stay here?

I don't know, I don't know, I mean...

For like, I don't know.

Hold on for a second,
what's going on here?

I mean...

There is something going on
here because this is not you.



Oh, like what?

Like you're in love.


Yeah right.

Tell me the truth, what did you do to her?

- [Charlie] What do you want to know?

Did you kiss her?

Kind of, kind of.


You nasty dog.

Did you do her?


Did you actually do her?

No, no, I didn't do her, no.

Come on, tell me the truth.

Did you do her?

No I didn't, I swear I didn't.

Marcelo, Marcelo!

Marcelo, open your mouth, open your mouth,

open your mouth!

His body will still responding
in the next few days.

Then he will have to
breathe through an external

oxygen system and be connected to it 24/7.

Yeah, I know.

For how long are you gonna
be able to stay here?

I don't know.

I won't be able to be
around too often these days

because I have medical practice and tests.

You gotta be...

Taking care of him.


Call me if you need me.

- [Charlie] I will.

I almost forgot...

You gotta sign these papers.

This is Marcelo's responsive letter.

I can't sign them because
I'm not his relative.


It makes you responsible
for any medical decision

taken on his behalf.

I gotta go.


In the middle of the universe...

Alone in the middle of the ocean.

What is the last thing
you remember from mom?


You want me to write that down or...

Don't be silly.

That's something I always
wanted to ask you, you know.

What was the last thing
you saw on her face...

On that boat in the middle of the ocean?

I used to imagine that moment, you know?

In my dreams.

I actually imagine her
face was looking at us...


Saying everything is gonna be all right.

That's how I remember it.

Just the way you described it.

Think she's doing the
same thing right now?


Just looking at us, from the ocean.

Well, if she's doing it...

I'm pretty sure she's smiling.

I need to ask you something.

Whatever you want, man.

You know that soon I'm
gonna be a vegetable.

And I won't be able to
talk to you anymore.

So I need to ask you a couple favors.

The first one...

I don't want to be put in a
hospital, I hate hospitals.

I want to be home.

The second one...

I need you to promise me something.

When you notice I can't
move, I can't talk...

And you realize that I'm
just a piece of flesh...

I need you to disconnect me, let me go.


I can't do that man.

Well you have to.

I can't.

All these years...

I've been doing everything by myself

and I've never, never
bothered you with anything.

Never asked for anything,

this is the only thing I'm asking you for.

There's nothing I can do
if I'm like this, you know?

I won't be able to take care of grandpa.

I won't be able to fit hin,

won't be able to...

Won't be able to dance with Karla.

And I know she has a life
and I'm just an obstacle now.

You know?

You also have a life.

You have to go back home
and just take care of that.


Please, I beg you, please
don't ask me to do this.

All we have been doing all these days...

This is happiness to me.

That's all I needed to be complete.

I'm actually ready, you know?

You have to let me go man.

Please just promise...

That you will let me go.


I promise.

Thank you brother.

Thank you man.

Thank you man.

(intense ambient music)

(somber instrumental music)