Caribbean Film: Expanding the conversations with our stories

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In “Caribbean Film: Expanding the conversations with our stories” (The Nassau Guardian), Ian Bethell-Bennett reviews three films that center on Caribbean concerns: the documentary The Price of Memory (Karen Marks Mafundikwa, Jamaica), Cargo (Kareem Mortimer, The Bahamas), and the filmic adaptation (directed by Michael Mooleedhar, Trinidad) of Michael Anthony’s book Green Days by the River. The latter will be screened on from February 9, at 6:00pm, at the Island House Cinema, Nassau, The Bahamas. Here are excerpts; please see full review at The Nassau Guardian.

“The Price of Memory,” a film by Jamaican filmmaker Karen Marks Mafundikwa made in 2014, should be a starting point because of its excavation of memory. Given the single official story that entombs peoples in a deeply dehistoricized silence, we find that history becomes a space that is allowed to hold power over us.  This is an excellent discussion of Jamaican and Caribbean political history and economy through an examination of the debate around reparations.  Marks Mafundikwa skillfully moves through debates for and against reparations and demonstrates the resistance by the House of Lords in the UK. [. . .]

“Green Days by the River,” a drama directed by Trinidadian filmmaker Michael Mooleedhar and produced by Christian James, re-stories Michael Anthony’s novel in very interesting ways. While distinct from the documentary, it is a story of rural life in the mid ’20s in Trinidad, the mixing of two groups, Indo-Trinidadians and Creole or Blacks. These groups are always pitted against each other and made to seem as if there is little mixing, when we understand that especially in rural communities, there is a great deal of inter-and commingling.  It is well acted and well shot. The foliage and nature is amazing, particularly as the ‘picture’ of the Caribbean is more exclusively of beaches and water, the rich and deep textures and greens of Trinidad is arresting. [. . .]

In “Cargo”, Kareem Mortimer and James Dylan put to film the savages of inequality and corruption, though without spelling it out.  A deeply troubling and revealing film, in equal parts beautiful and ugly, it is a rendering of national politics that need to be spoken of in humanizing language, but often remains deeply and problematically unchallenged, because Haitians in The Bahamas are simply unwelcome and have become the foil to nationalism.  Ironically, and the film demonstrates this, class and race are not neatly compartmentalized, as is frequently presented by conversations that claim criminality as the space of Blackness and vice versa. So much of the riches of the country arise from illegality or barely legal and dark transactions that come down history from the establishment of the country to today. [. . .]

For full review, see https://thenassauguardian.com/2018/02/03/caribbean-film/

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