I was ecstatic when I received the schedule of events via email, as these opportunities so rarely come our way. I feel culturally starved. I am referring to the Caribbean Film Festival, now on at the Harquail Theatre, with offerings from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Cayman, Trinidad, and St. Lucia. I take any opportunity that I can to take in an event at the Harquail. Such a lovely treasure for the Islands, and yet, in my humble opinion, so inefficiently utilised. I always feel like a creature of the arts when at the theatre, often wishing that I am able to sip on some rum or wine whilst comfortably seated and taking in a production of choice.
Anyway, I digress.
The film Festival was postponed after the passage of Hurricane Dean, and unfortunately, two weeks of movie and / or documentaries from around the Caribbean region are now condensed into one week, with two shows per night. Each night, I am therefore forced to make a difficult movie choice, when I would love to see them all.
Last night DV and I went to see the sub-titled Haitian film, “The President Is Dead”, a two hour jaunt into the lives and love of Dao, a superstar Haitian musician, and Nina, the independent and strong willed woman who tamed him and allowed him to confront his lifestyle choices and the disease that was rapidly eating away at his mind and body. The show hinted at some of the issues impacting Haiti - poverty; corruption; voodoo and the AIDS crises, all without a documentary feel, focusing instead on the continuation of the film’s plot, by incorporating twists and turns along the way.
Tonight, we went to view the Jamaican documentary, Life and Debt. This film made me really wish that I could have sipped on some rum or wine whilst taking in some powerful food for thought. The film documents the impact of globalisation on the Jamaican economy, and the methods by which the United States and other superpowers affect(ed) everyday life in Jamaica, with an abundance of information from which to gorge within one hour and ten minutes. These include the dictatorship of the IMF; the Jamaican Free Zone (or what I call the “Sweat Shop”), and forms of Economics 101. When the credits rolled, I wanted to stand up in the theatre, raise my middle finger on high, and scream “Viva La Revolution” whilst grabbing a machete. But, alas, my revolution would not be televised as my Sonny was present. Therefore, I will continue with the underground movement. Join me?
Tomorrow, I look forward to taking in the Cayman Islands’ offerings, “Swallow”, directed Frank E. Flowers, and “Galore”, directed by Tim Kelly. For once, I don’t have that isolated feeling associated with being at a Calypso concert where every other island gets a shout out in song, but mine. We are fully into the mix this time, and I am going out to support my bredrens!
Tragically, each night there has been such lackluster attendance for such a wonderful event celebrating the lives and talents of we Caribbean people. Ironically, as I leave the Harquail on closing and drive pass the Cinema, I can only sigh as I take in the saturated parking lot and the long lines at the ticket window. This in itself speaks of the impact of globalisation and our continued lack of support for our own.
So, peoples, if you are based on the island, free up some time and go check it out, nah? Call the CNCF for the film schedule and general synopsis of each film, to aid with your movie choice. Shows are 7:00pm each night at the Harquail, adults $5.00, $3.00 for children.
On that note, I shall now exit.