No Pasa Nada
Directed by Victoria Naranjos Montoya | Reviewed by Debopam Deb Roy
Director Victoria Naranjos Montoya’s No Pasa Nada is an absolute treat to all cinephiles. It is a simple yet deeply unsettling film which will perhaps foster your thoughts about the different behavioural patterns of human beings in the world outside. The story is about a girl named Angela whom we observe in two separate time and space. Throughout the film we see how she reacts to certain situations and resolves them. The film explores human psyche and behaviour in the most thrilling way possible, asserting it’s viewers that the flow of time has very little impact on how we react to our immediate surroundings. It so might happen that a person would react to a bird on the street much like the way they used to 20 years back.
No Pasa Nada begins with Angela sitting inside a red car, wearing a red frock, waiting for her mother to drop her off at school. The mother dressed in black apparently seems like a busy woman as we see her communicating via a beeper. The first time someone sees Angela, they would be looking at an innocent young girl of nine or ten years who, for very obvious reasons, is disinterested to go to school. She looks gloomy and distracted until her eyes fixate on a tiny ladybug which had just appeared on the window beside her. Within an instant, her facial expression changes and suddenly she becomes the most joyous little girl there was. However her next action is so unsettling that a viewer almost immediately gets drawn to her persona. Angela places her index finger over the bug and squishes it against the glass. Her eyes reflect utter disappointment and she instantly shifts her attention to her mother. This peculiar persona becomes the central theme of the film. Angela gets down from her car to walk to school. She carries a small box with her as she holds her teacher’s hand and walks off for the class.
The interior space of the classroom is depicted by a panning camera movement where the camera follows a young boy of the same age. As the boy crosses every bench he drops others’ belongings on his way. Angela watches these boys with clenched teeth and a sharp gaze. In the next shot, Angela’s mother comes to pick her up. But what makes the scene slightly odd is the presence of an ambulance near the entrance. As the teacher hands her over to her mother, she also passes a note. As soon as her mother starts reading the note, all the colours drain from her face. In the successive shot we find Angela and her mother at the dining table, the indoors telling us it’s where they live. There’s a radio to the left of her mother from which the prompter is heard reading the evening news. Her mother hears the prompter say that at the back of the school the police found the dead body of a male student. All this while the viewer can see Angela stroking the surface of the box that she carried to school. The camera jumps to a close up on her hands and now we see a prominent dent on one of the edges of the box, clearly resembling that the object was probably used as a weapon to hit someone.
The next shot is a low angle shot of skyscrapers, teeming with lights and loud music, followed by the image of a beautiful young woman, sipping a drink from her glass standing in her room. The woman is hardly thirty, with short hair and wearing a red dress. Here the viewer can quickly connect and identify this woman as a grown up Angela, who is now a successful woman in life, enjoying her privacy in a well furnished suite. She goes out to have a drink at the nearby bar where she is met with a flirtatious young man who wants to buy her a drink. Angela allows him to buy her one and even agrees to go out with him after her drink is finished. The man, who is obviously bedazzled by her looks, does not waste time and pulls her sharply by the waist against a wall. Much to the viewer’s surprise, Angela albeit taken by surprise initially, takes charge of the situation and leads him to her room.
The final shot of the film is definitely wholesome to the viewers. Angela is seen walking up to her work table, her eyes fall on the front page of the daily that’s kept on top. She takes her seat and examines it closely. The headlines read : Body of a man found in alley. The camera quickly glances back on her face. Angela is seen smiling, a very contented look on her face, while her fingers playfully touch the pendant she’s wearing. Oddly enough, the shape of the pendant resembles the figure of the character which was printed on the box so many years ago.
No Pasa Nada is a beautiful take on the dual nature of one’s persona. The director clearly wanted to assert how there’s two sides to a person’s nature and how it is solely upon that person to choose a side. Through this film it becomes apparent that a person’s behavioural pattern may disappear as time has an impact on every individual, however it is never truly gone. The way we analyse, react and resolve do not change with time. They maybe superimposed, but never completely washed away. The way Angela devised a coping mechanism was different and strange than other people around her. However the viewer understands that she struggles through the entire process of coping against a certain reaction before she kills an individual, thus finally achieving peace with her inner self. No Pasa Nada carefully explores these tropes and conveys the essence of the narrative through an amazing colour palette. This short is colourful yet blood curdling at the same time!