Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 15th 2013 Contents B29
September 15, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
T&T-American filmmaker Damian Marcano
will premiere his first feature film, God Loves
the Fighter, on Friday as part of the T&T Film
Festival. The film, a drama about poverty and
crime in east Port-of-Spain, is up for two
prizes: best narrative feature film and best
local feature film.
In advance of its premiere it s being hailed
as an excellent showing for an emerging film-
maker. His only other film was a 2011 short
set on the north coast of Trinidad called The
Little Boy and the Ball. And he s just begun
work on his second feature, A Chance of Rain
But even if you haven t heard of Marcano
or seen his films, it s very likely you re familiar
with his work. He directed a string of music
videos this year for soca superstar Machel
Montano, for the hits Fog, Float and Represent
(Remix). One version of the last was a short
narrative film that featured actors playing their
characters from God Loves the Fighter.
Marcano also directed two videos for the
local folk-pop group Freetown Collective, who
collaborated with Montano on Represent. Free-
town frontman Muhammad Muwakil, a spo-
ken-word artist and poet, plays the lead in
God Loves the Fighter. The title of the film
is taken from a line in one of his poems.
Marcano, who s also directed videos for
American hip hop artists, sees music videos
as just one aspect of filmmaking.
"Most directors start off with some shorter
form of content," he said; he s willing to try
different opportunities to develop his craft
and earn a living, including music videos and
"The point is just to keep working. My job
is no different from your job."
Coincidentally, his attitude is reflected in
changes made in the film festival this year.
For the first time there will be a segment on
music videos, featuring seven clips, including
those for Mungal Patasar & Pantar s Fallen,
I-Sasha s Tell Me and Gyazette s Jumbie. The
festival will present its music video package
at the Little Carib Theatre in Woodbrook on
September 18 at 5.30 pm.
"A number of filmmakers are known for
the music videos they ve done," said Jonathan
Ali, the festival s editorial director.
"Spike Jonze, for example, started off making
music videos." Jonze, who directed videos for
Fatboy Slim, Beastie Boys and many others,
was nominated for an Academy Award for his
direction of the 1999 film Being John
Marcano, who was born in Morvant and
left Trinidad for the US at the age of 12, expe-
rienced the reach of music videos on a recent
trip back home. Many people shared stories
with him about how the video for Fog affected
"There s not one person I d run into in the
entire trip who hadn t seen that video," he
The hope is that God Loves the Fighter,
which was influenced by stories told to Mar-
cano about life in T&T s crime "hot spots,"
eventually has similar impact.
Marcano said he d like to see the movie
become a "cult classic film."
God Loves the Fighter will premiere on Sep-
tember 20, at 8.30 pm, at MovieTowne, Port-
of-Spain. The filmmaker will take part in a
Q&A interview after the screening.
For further screenings of God Loves the
Fighter, check ttfilmfestival.com or call 621-
Sorry...I bought it, but I just don t buy it.
Yes, I bought The Cuckoo s Calling, a detective
novel written by JK Rowling under the pseu-
donym Robert Galbraith, but I don t buy all
the hype where readers gushed about the novel
saying it seemed to have been written by an
expert in crime. Of course, that was before
Rowling s ruse was exposed.
Personal feelings aside, our current Sunday
Arts Section (SAS) Book Club choice is perfect
for a book club because it s an opportunity to
dissect Rowling as an adult writer. Can she
ever shake her reputation as a children s author
who penned the Harry Potter series?
The first rule of good writing is to write
about what you know. I m not convinced that
Rowling is an expert on fashion designers,
models, rap singers---or detectives, for that
matter. Her descriptions in The Cuckoo s Call-
ing are often pedestrian or awkward. I still
can t get over the descriptions of Strike s "furry
Rowling s penchant for calling attention to
characters race puzzles me as well. I don t
know how she gets away with that. Why does
anyone s race matter in the story?
Most disappointing for me is the lack of
development in terms of characters. For the
most part they are empty and vulgar. Dialogue
has been reduced to strings of profanity, which
do nothing for Rowling s writing or her rep-
utation as a writer.
Rowling s characterisations often seem con-
tradictory. Strike is strong enough to survive
a horrific war injury that leaves him an
amputee. He s tough enough to be a private
detective, yet he s thrown off track emotionally
by a gorgeous girlfriend---fiancée for a time---
who initially rescued him from his emotions,
but then dumps him.
Nagging problems plague The Cuckoo s
Calling---disconcerting things that just don t
add up, like the cleaning lady who barely
speaks English providing key clues to two con-
versations she overheard even though she can
barely comprehend Strike s questions.
The problem with---or perhaps the advantage
of---a detective novel is that the crime itself
propels the reader forward. There s automatic
suspense built into even the worst detective
novel, and the reader often can t judge the
novel s true merit until the end, when all the
pieces should come together.
There are so many questions that keep crop-
ping up in The Cuckoo s Calling, but rest
assured: Rowling can get away with murder
when it comes to writing. There s no way not
to feel curious about a book written by JK
Rowling. It s just too difficult to let go of an
author that grabbed the whole world s attention
with Harry Potter.
SAS Book Club questions:
1. Does The Cuckoo s Calling do anything
for Rowling s reputation as an author?
2. Does all the cursing in the novel seem
justified, or is it gratuitous even for a detective
3. Why does Rowling feel compelled to
create parallels between Strike the detective
and Lula s brother, who hires him to investigate
his adopted sister s death?
4. Would you read any more adult novels
by JK Rowling?
Next week: The SAS Book Club tackles The
Dream of the Celt by Peruvian Nobel laureate
Mario Vargas Llosa. If you like history,
biographies and/or Latin American literature,
you won't want to miss this novel, based on
the life of Roger Casement, an Irishman hanged
by the British government for treason in 1916.
It's a fascinating tale that will make you
question your own values as you ask yourself,
"What cause would I stand up for in this
T&T-born music video director premieres first feature film
Does Rowling cut it with adult readers?
Out of Morvant, crossing over
T&T-born director Damian Marcano. PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL COOKE/ THE BLUE CINNAMON GROUP
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