Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2015 Contents Although online programming sched-
ules were, at deadline last week, restrict-
ed to today, the film choice still remains
as wide as it is good. The Also Rans
include the BEST FILM OF THE WEEK
(The Ship of Theseus, 7.30 am MaxW,
not chosen because the subtitles for the
Urdu may be in Spanish), and two other films that might have taken that
title, a Best Foreign Film Oscar-winner (*The Artist, 6.45 pm FxCin) and
arguably David Mamet s best screenplay (Glengarry Glen Ross, 10.30 pm
DTV). Apart from the top pick today also features two other hugely watchable
and critically sound family films, a Jerry Seinfeld animated vehicle (Bee Movie,
2.20 pm FxFam) and what might be the most underrated family film of all
time (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, 5.30 pm TCM), as well as the first Chris
Nolan/Bale Dark Knight flick (Batman Begins, 1.05 pm HBOP), a decent Josh
Brolin crime thriller (Labour Day, 10.30 am Fx1E) a decent Colin Firth drama
(Railway Man, 12.10 noon and 3.10 pm Fx1E&W) and a modern young adult
version of The Prestige or The Illusionist meets Inception (Now You See Me,
5.10 pm FxMvs).
TODAY'S BEST FILM:
Paddington (Paul King/2014/ UK-France/ Family-Comedy-Adventure-
Animated/ 95 mins/ PG for mild action and rude humour), various times,
MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain, Chaguanas, Tobago. Watch this if you liked
Babe, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, or The Adventures of Milo and
Otis. There are kiddie movies---such as Finding Nemo, Up and The Incred-
ibles---that are so good, grown-ups might like them; and there are other
"kiddie" films that are really grown-up films kids can also enjoy, like the
Shrek and Toy Story films. Paddington may be the best of the latter lot so
far made, at least for West Indians who have left home: with frequent
soundtrack appearances by a live calypso band (featuring lead vocals by
Tobago Crusoe) singing kaisos by Lord Kitchener---London is the Place for
Me, most aptly---Paddington is a comedy about a stuffed toy bear that is also
a director-acknowledged allegorical indictment of English post-colonial immi-
gration practice. It is also a first-rate action film in the vein of Indiana Jones
and, often, a top-notch tip of the hat to Charlie Chaplin s slapstick. This is
a film that does what cinema ought to: transport the viewer to a flawless,
credible and enthralling other world from which he or she emerges with great
reluctance but even more greatly lifted spirits. Borrow a child to take to the
cinema, if you have to, to make sure you see it on the big screen.
Juno (Jason Reitman/2008/USA/Teen-Romantic Comedy/ 96 mins/ PG-
13 for mature thematic material, sexual content and language), 9.35 am Fox
Comedy. Watch this if you liked Knocked Up, Sideways or Millions. Far, far
better than any film condemned to classification under "Teen" and "Rom-
Com" should be. A sparkling script and a simmering performance from Ellen
"Hard Candy" Page---easily the best actress of her generation---make the
perennially difficult topic of teenage pregnancy as enjoyable as it is touching.
Not for children at all but very rewarding for open-minded grownups.
The Road (John Hillcoat/ 2009/ USA/ Drama-Sci-fi/111 mins/ R for some
violence, disturbing images and language), 3.45 pm MaxPrime. Watch this
if you liked Children of Men, Into the Wild or No Country for Old Men. The
heartbreaking, hugely bleak, massively depressing but still, ultimately, optimistic
Cormac McCarthy novel brought to life in all its post-Apocalyptic dreariness;
like the book, the real success of the film is the love between father and son,
though, thankfully, the movie is not nearly as devastating as the book.
American critics, in their idiocy, compared this great film to the dreadful
Book of Eli. It is far, far better, although the director softened the most awful
part of the book, as anyone who s both read it and seen it will attest.
*Starred films have been chosen in the last three months.
Scheduled Internet times often vary on the day, particularly around month-end.
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt February 8, 2015
A Trifecta of the Week's Best Films on the Box
writes on Tea and Readings at Paper Based bookshop
At Tea and Readings, an event hosted once every
other month by Joan Dayal and the team of Paper
Based bookshop at The Normandie hotel, you re
as likely to hear an established prize-winning writer
as an emerging one, a poet as a calypsonian, a spo-
ken work artist as a serious academic.
The first of this year s Tea and Readings, held on
the last Saturday in January, was no exception.
Guardian books writer Shivanee Ramlochan presented
a trio of stellar writers: Barbara Lalla, Sharon Millar
and Philip Nanton.
Millar, winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short
Story Prize and the 2012 Small Axe Short Fiction
Award, read two extracts from her short story
Spelunking. In a valley in the Northern Range where
limestone deposits colour the waterfall rocks green
and dissolved iron seeps through the water like blood,
Ella, a young woman working on her PhD thesis,
sets up a year-long camp to observe the blind catfish
that inhabit the pools of the Cumaca caves.
That she is pregnant, the child conceived and born
during her forest sojourn, adds another dimension
to this story, in which the perilous sport of cave
exploration is used as a metaphor for Ella s own
seemingly reckless venture into unknown territory
where catfish lose their sight and people their ability
to see things as they really are.
This beautifully-told, richly-described, layered
story incorporates history, folklore, ancient super-
stitions, scientific investigation, feminine mystique,
transformative landscapes, a plane crash of long ago,
and mysterious present-day goings-on. Spelunking
appears in Millar s debut short story collection The
Whale House (Peepal Tree Press, 2015).
Uncle Brother, Barbara Lalla s third novel, also set
in Trinidad, is a time and a world away from Millar s.
In her two selections, Lalla hooked listeners with the
tempting bait of the child bride, Samdai, following
her trembling departure from her home in the wide,
bright, open cane fields of early 20th-century Couva,
to her unpromising new life with her young husband,
Jai, and his family, in the more shadowy world of
the cocoa estate. The second extract tells of the enor-
mous sacrifice that the eponymous Uncle Brother,
son of the young couple, now a man, makes to secure
the future success of his younger siblings, fearing
that, "If I even shifted my eye away from you, you
would all simply disappear."
Peppered with Bhojpuri and imbued with keen
sensitivity to time, person and place, this absorbing
multi-voiced, multi-generational epic of endurance,
internecine conflict and self-sacrificing devotion is
told with the skill and nuance we have come to expect
from this writer whose professional life is as professor
emerita of language and literature at UWI, St Augus-
tine. Uncle Brother is published by UWI Press, 2015.
Philip Nanton, veteran storyteller, put his BBC-
radio-honed raconteur skills to excellent use, sending
listeners into gales of laughter with a series of humor-
ous vignettes, some new and some from his Island
Voices, about characters and situations in everyday
life in St Christopher and the Barracudas, a location
that is very likely a stand-in for his native St Vincent
and the Grenadines.
Among the tales are a letter sent by a sergeant (ag)
to his higher officer, railing about being sidelined for
elevation to inspector; a heated exchange in the No
Three van whose Rasta driver insists on playing his
country and western music to the annoyance and rage
of two passengers, identified as Blue Shirt and KFC,
who refuse to pay their fare unless the driver changes
the music and when put out of the van tell the driver,
"Rastaman, you aint got no identity"; a householder s
dismay at the disappearance of his prized, hoarded
smoked salmon, after a workman, told to help himself
to what s in the fridge, casually consumes it as nothing
more special than "red saltfish".
Although there was disappointment that Brother
Valentino, who was billed to appear, couldn t make
it, the appreciative audience was delighted to be
treated to another reading by Sharon Millar. Over
wine, tea, coffee, juice, quiche, filled croissants and
cake, guests mingled and engaged one another and
the readers in critical discussion and ole talk.
Books mentioned here are available at Paper Based
bookshop, home to the widest range of Caribbean
and diasporic writing for adults, young adults and
and blind catfish at The Normandie
The next Tea and Readings is carded for March.
Check the Paper Based Bookshop facebook
page for updates on this and other events.
The best film
you can see
today is in
Barbara Lalla, left, Philip Nanton and Sharon Millar, feature readers at An Evening of Tea and Readings hosted
by Paper Based Bookshop, The Normandie, on January 31. PHOTO: ANDRE ALEXANDER
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