After being postponed because of the approach of Hurricane Dean, The Traveling Caribbean Film Showcase is rescheduled for 27 August through 2 September. Presented by Cayman National Cultural Foundation, the film festival will screen movies and documentaries from around the region nightly in the Harquail Theater and the Harquail Studio Theatre.
The festival opens with a reception Monday night which is followed by the screening of Rue Cases Negres (Black Shack Ally), a feature length film from Martinique that tells the story of the friendship of a young boy and an old man. The film is one of 18 English, Spanish and French language films from around the Caribbean that will screen at the F. J. Harquail Cultural Centre. Non-English films have subtitles.
The films are feature length and short subject stories and documentaries from Cayman, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Lucia and Trinidad. The showing of The Traveling Caribbean Film Showcase in Cayman is made possible by Cayman 27, KISS106.1FM, HOT104.1FM, Marriott Resort Grand Cayman and Cable and Wireless.
The best known film in the festival is the Jamaican classic The Harder They Come with reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff playing the lead role. It is the story of Ivan the naïve country boy who comes to the city to find work and better himself. He tries to break into the music business only to be exploited and ultimately becomes a legendary criminal. Directed by Perry Henzell, this film and its soundtrack was one of the primary forces that propelled reggae onto the world stage. The Harder They Come shows Saturday, 1 September in the Harquail Main Theatre at 7 pm.
Among the four entries from Cuba is Roble de Olor (The Scent of Oak) which is directed by acclaimed Cuban director Rigiberto Lopez. The film has won a number of awards and tells a story about the boundless love between a beautiful distinguished black woman from Saint Domingue and a romantic German tradesman who has recently arrived in the country. Their passion makes the richest coffee plantation in Cuba — Angerona — reach its peak. Roble De Olor shows in the Harquail Studio Theater on Saturday, 1 September at 7 pm.
Also from Cuba is La Ultima Cena (The Last Supper). In this film which is set at the end of the 18th century during Holy Week, a count visits his Havana sugar mill on a day that a slave has run away. The count tells his cruel overseer, Don Manuel, to pick 12 slaves who will be guests at the count’s table. The twelfth guest is the recaptured runaway. During the dinner, using religious analogies, the count lectures his guests on the perfect happiness possible in slavery. They in turn tell stories and make requests. He promises no work on Good Friday, but he leaves early that morning and Don Manuel rousts the slaves for a long day cutting cane. They rebel. Which side will the count take? Find out Tuesday, 28 August when La Ultima Cena screens in the Harquail Main Theater at 7 pm.
Cayman is represented by two short subject films. From Frank E. Flowers comes Swallow. This is Flowers’ first film which looks at the exploitation of desperate people by drug smugglers. Another Caymanian film maker has put his first film in the can. Tim Kelly directs the film Galore that tells a tale of climbing the corporate ladder and the choice of morals versus success. Galore and Swallow are part of a triple screening. The third film on the bill is Port Au Prince Se Pam (Port of Prince Is Mine). This is another Rigiberto Lopez film and it portrays the beleaguered city of Port au Prince as it is today… a victim of overpopulation, lack of urban infrastructure, and environmental degradation. These three film show on Thursday, 30 August in the Harquail Main Theatre beginning at 7 pm.
Among the documentary films are Of Men and Gods, Nosotros Y El Jazz (Jazz and Us) and Calypso Dreams. These three documentaries take a look at homosexuality and voodoo in Haiti, the influence of jazz on Cuban youth and calypso in Trinidad.
Of Men and Gods delves into the world of homosexuality and voodoo in Haiti. The film shows the need that gay Haitian men have to find meaning in their lives in a society where homosexuality is taboo. Through voodoo some find an explanation to their sexuality and regard themselves ‘children’ of the gods. On the same bill is Nosotros Y El Jazz, the story of a group of black Havana youths in the 1940’s and 50’s who hung out around jazz. In private houses, black societies, and some bars in the cities, they enjoyed what were then called “Jam Sessions,” using the English term. Movies such as Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky made these young men and women dream as they discovered the art of African American musicians, singers, and dancers. This double feature screens Thursday, 30 August in the Harquail Studio beginning at 7pm.
Fans of calypso music can learn much about this music that is a favourite in the English speaking Caribbean by checking out Calypso Dreams. This documentary from filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn explores the history of calypso music in Trinidad and Tobago. The film features performances by such seminal acts as Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose, Lord Superior, Brother Valentino, Regeneration Now, and Mystic Prowler. Calypso Dreams also includes archival footage of Calypso pioneers Grandmaster Kitchener and Lord Pretender. The film received the Best Caribbean Documentary Award at the 2002 Jamerican Film Festival and was voted Audience Favourite at the DC Film Fest. Calypso Dreams is showing in the Harquail Main Theatre Friday, 31 August at 7 pm.
For the children there is a matinee at five o’clock on Sunday, 2 September in the Harquail Studio Theatre. The first film is from Cuba and appropriately titled Viva Cuba. This is the story of two kids, Malú and Jorgito who have promised each other a lifetime friendship despite their families hate. As Malu’s Grandma dies, her mother decides to leave Cuba. Malu and Jorgito will have to escape to the world’s edge in search of a hope for their love. The other film for youngsters comes from Trinidad. In The Banana Robber the citizens of Poui Village live their lives in fear. They are bullied and terrorized by two competing delinquents until Manni, the local beggar, who is driven by hunger uses his cunning abilities to rid the village of these two delinquents.
Tickets for the film festival cost $5 adults and $3 children and are available at the door. Group discounts are available for groups of 10 or more and package discounts are available for individuals attending 10 or more films. For more information call 949-5477 or email [email protected].