It’s back! One of my favourite times of year has rolled around again and we’re smack in the middle of the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival.
I’ve always loved films, foreign films in particular. It’s interesting that I feel the same way about our local film industry as I do about ‘World Cinema’ when there’s nothing remotely foreign to me about our films. I remember when the TT Film Festival was just starting out and I’m so impressed with and proud of the way it’s grown over the years. Almost everyone I know who I have any semblance of respect for has been talking about the film festival, attending shows, recommending and sharing trailers etc. I personally know people this year who have either directed, acted in, styled or contributed in some significant way to the creation of a film. It’s so encouraging to see this as a developing area for young people to become involved. There’s no doubt in my mind that Trinidad & Tobago needs to open its mind to the possibility of viable work in the Creative Industry.
Anyway! All that aside I’ve been to see a few films since the beginning of the festival on the 19th of September:
The first I decided to go see, quite spontaneously, spurred on Zindzi and Tanya, two friends and fellow film enthusiasts. There was a lot of buzz about the re-opening of the Studio Film Club at Fernandez Compound, a venue that apparently used to be quite popular. I think I must have been in the UK during its hey-day because this was the first I’d heard of it. In any case, the film was Shame, directed by British Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. Wasn’t sure if I felt like making the trek from my cosy bed in Arima to Morvant but then I watched the trailer…
This film was beyond incredible. Fassbender is a beast in this; everything he did, every emotion he evoked was raw and too real to bear sometimes. I was deeply affected by this film. I described it to someone as ‘heavy’. It literally sits on your chest and forces you to absorb every sordid detail. The cinematography is brilliantly calculated and there are some long shots that make you feel almost stifled – some people would find it almost uncomfortable but I enjoyed it immensely. Note, this is not for the faint of heart or the prudish: 5 minutes into the film there’s full frontal and without being too hardcore, the film itself explores sexual taboos that I think most people avoid discussing. Unfortunately that night was the only showing of the film in the festival but I imagine it’s available on Flow on Demand for viewing after the festival wraps up.
The next film I went to see was the premiere of The Cool Boys, a film directed by Michael Mooleedhar, a familiar face in the social circle I happen to be a part of. I’ve been hearing whispers about this film for close to a year and naturally, the Boy and I decided to go take it in. It’s a narrative short at only 26 minutes long (Mooleedhar revealed in the Q&A that it may become a television series once it gets financial backing) so there were some other shorts shown before the premiere. Three were shown: Lock & Key, Walk a Mile and Red Amber Green. Red Amber Green was BY FAR one of my favourite short films and as usual I’m very impressed with the quality of work coming out of Jamaica. It was refreshing and discussed a serious issue (in my opinion) with a type of good naturedness and comic relief that was very touching. Next up was The Cool Boys:
This was enjoyable, the story was a good one and I think the plot is relatable to anyone living in Trinidad & Tobago. Some of the writing is really funny and there were a few phrases in there I could easily see catching on in popular culture. I think this would actually do really well as a television series. I may even recommend to Michael that he cast my little brother in future installments, haha. The music for this film was fantastic, as was the styling. My only criticism is one I think applies to most Trinidadian films and anything that requires any kind of acting, voice included: it’s always a little bit too exaggerated for my liking. I get that we are animated as a people…we gesticulate a lot, emphasize our syllables a lot, talk loudly and quickly; but for whatever reason, when it’s captured on tape, it always comes across as too over the top to appear natural in my opinion. That really is my only criticism because I think otherwise it really was an impressive endeavour and I look forward to more from Mr. Mooleedhar.
I just decided to cut this post into two parts because it may end up being a bit long if I don’t. So enjoy Part 1 and there is a full week of the TT Film Festival left so I encourage everyone to go support, it really is worth it.