CRB Reviews Recent Caribbean Film

The Caribbean Review of Books contains a special section on recent Caribbean film, supported by the trinidad+tobago film festival 2010. Here is a list of seven films, with a short description and links to full reviews:

Children of God (Bahamas), directed by Kareem Mortimer: In “Could you be loved,” Nicholas Laughlin says, “No love story is ever really simple. The psychology of human desire is too complicated, too surprising. But the love story at the core of Children of God — Bahamian director Kareem Mortimer’s first feature film — is further complicated by its rumbling backdrop of hatred and fear: homophobic violence and religious intolerance.”

Orpailleur (French Guiana), directed by Marc Barrat: In “Gold fever,” Georgia Popplewell writes, “French Guiana–born Marc Barrat locates the action of his—and his home territory’s—first feature film in one corner of the Shield, a hotspot where corrupt gold mine bosses and petty prospectors—orpailleurs—lock horns with environmentalists, indigenous people, and Brazilian illegals.”

La Soga (US/Dominican Republic) directed by Josh Crook: In “There will be blood,” Jane Bryce describes, “In spite of the bleakness of its subject and the hard-eyed realism of its perspective on poverty and violence, something of this ‘state of ecstasy’ manages to pervade La Soga, making it a crime thriller with a human face. From the opening sequence, the joyful bachata, Latin dance rhythms, and popular songs of the sountrack are an upbeat counterpoise to the often distressing events we and the characters are forced to witness.”

Los Viajes del viento (Colombia), directed by Ciro Guerra: In “Songs of the road,” Ian Craig says, “Boy meets man on donkey. Boy follows man on odyssey to return to owner the accordion that’s been the lifelong instrument of his fame. Man refuses to teach boy to play accordion. [. . .] The donkey—a mute, heroic presence that deserves equal billing with the two stars—staggers through an astonishing diversity of landscapes, from the sorghum and grasslands of the Colombian Caribbean heartlands, through the forbidding desert and salt flats of the Guajira Peninsula, to the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, where the aging troubadour Ignacio (Marciano Martínez) performs a mournful duet with a Kogui mountain-dweller on pipes.”

The Amerindians (Trinidad and Tobago), directed by Tracy Assing and Sophie Meyer, In “The return of the native,” Dylan Kerrigan writes, “Historians tell stories of the past. These stories are always partial truths. These partial truths have consequences for how we imagine the present and the future. In this excellent documentary account of the contemporary Amerindian population of Trinidad and Tobago, and the issues the community faces, directors Tracy Assing and Sophie Meyer clearly illustrate this connection between past, present, and future. Amerindian identity, we are reminded, is not and nor should it be solely or principally about public events like the Santa Rosa Festival. There is far more to the story.”

The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee “Scratch” Perry (Jamaica), directed by Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough: In “Addicted to rockstone,” Kellie Magnus writes, “’I’d like you to meet a genius.’ A clip from Carl Bradshaw’s introduction of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry on a BBC Channel 4 broadcast opens The Upsetter, a lively biopic that functions both as a documentary on Jamaican music and one of its seminal figures, and as a study of the fine line between genius and madness.”

Coolie Pink and Green (Trinidad and Tobago), directed by Patricia Mohammed: In “Colour wheel,” Andre Bagoo explains, “It starts with the image of a woman’s eyes. Then, slowly, dancing plumes of white and pink smoke. Then the woman again, dancing. An opening title tells us the history of the indentured East Indians who came to Trinidad in the nineteenth century. Two narrators—one a young Indo-Trinidadian woman, the other an older man—use sometimes rhyming verse to weave the central conflict that is the subject matter of Coolie Pink and Green.”

Photograph of Stephen Tyrone Williams and Johnny Ferro in Children of God, courtesy the trinidad+tobago film festival via CRB: http://caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/crb-archive/23-september-2010/could-you-be-loved/

Photograph by Nicholas Laughlin, “Dancers at a Phagwah (Holi) celebration in Trinidad” (2009), from http://caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/crb-archive/23-september-2010/colour-wheel/

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