David Harrison
Etienne Cipriani
June 01, 2015

In an alternate-history fantasy about the Cuban Missile Crisis, a woman who lives in purgatory must guide victims of a nuclear tragedy into the after-life.

An alternate history tale set at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis: A Cuban woman, who refuses to leave purgatory while she waits for her son to meet her there, has to re-evaluate her choice when guests arrive with news that Cuba has been destroyed.


From the Director

It’s with a lot of affection that I wrote this film for the person it’s named after. Amalia is a wise family friend that has helped relatives of mine get through many hard times. While toying with several ideas that felt relevant to the Cuban Missile Crisis, it seemed more than appropriate to motivate a plot based on someone whose goal in life is to help everyone she can... and maybe challenge her empathy with a notorious guest. Even a woman with such mighty therapeutic powers, however, cannot begin to reverse the damage that an atomic bomb can yield.

The message of Amalia is that we often use “blame” - blaming ourselves, others, nature - to feel better about mistakes in the irretrievable past. Whether you are casting blame or accepting it, there is a feeling of healing that accompanies guilt. But nuclear tragedy is a different animal. Like the massive disaster that the United States brought upon Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an atomic conflict casts a shadow of pain so widespread and deeply felt that one can hardly imagine its magnitude. 

The Cuban Missile Crisis is an apt historical reminder that when the safety of hundreds of thousands (or millions) is being held together like a house of cards, it's never worth tempting fate.