Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 23rd 2014 Contents After the disaster of last Sunday, the
worst week for film choice since BC on
TV began, all three of this week's picks
could be declared BEST FILM OF THE
WEEK, as could three of the week's
Also-Rans. Today's runners-up include
two former picks, one excellent music bio, one time travel sci-fi that holds
together really well (*Marley, 2.30 pm Max; Looper, 7 pm HBOC, and again
6.50 pm Thursday HBO), two near picks, one nature documentary and one
stylised Western (Winged Migration, 11.55 am HBOF; El Mariachi, 6 pm
MaxW) and an extended Curb Your Enthusiasm episode for the Larry David
fans only (Clear History, 5.30 pm HBO). Apart from the other three Best Film
of the Week contenders (*The Artist, 8.10 pm Tuesday Max; A Clockwork
Orange, 10 pm Thursday TCM; *Searching for Sugarman, 6.30 pm Friday
Max), the young Dustin Hoffman is exceptional in one of BC on TV's favourite
thrillers (Marathon Man, 10 pm Monday TCM).
TODAY'S BEST FILM: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (Sergio Leone/1966/
Italy/Western/155 mins/Rated R) 1.25 pm today and again 3 pm Thursday
Turner Classic Movies. Watch this if you liked The Wild Bunch, The
Proposition or No Country for Old Men. Spaghetti Westerns are to many a
serious film buff what one-day cricket is to the Test aficionado: a lot of
fun, perhaps, but too flawed to take seriously. Still. Leone's magnificent
storytelling via camera and grunts will keep you enthralled. It ought not to
work at all; it does, terrifically. The spellbinding three-way shootout finale
(stolen by Quentin Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs), goes on for five full min-
utes---and you're holding your breath for most of it. It includes some of the
most memorable Western lines---"When you come to shoot, shoot, don't
talk"---and the greatest Western theme of all time. If this is one-day
cricket, it's West Indies v England in the 2004 ICC Champions' trophy
REST OF THE WEEK: A Separation (Asghar Farhadi/2011/Iran/Drama/
123 mins/Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material) 5.40 pm Wednesday
Max. Watch this if you liked Monsieur Lazhar, The Lives of Others or
Waltz with Bashir. An almost perfectly realised film, A Separation shows,
from the first frames, exactly why it won the 2012 Best Foreign Language
Film Oscar. Flawlessly acted, perfectly directed, exquisitely paced and
beautifully written, A Separation considers perplexing social issues and
the relationships of ordinary, flawed human beings striving to live good
lives in challenging circumstances. Far, far better than any number of
green-screen explosions and eyeballs flying across the room, this is cin-
ema that engages viewers and changes lives. It should be on anyone's Top
50 Films list. Unreservedly recommended for anyone who owns a diction-
ary with a hard cover.
Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg/1967/USA-UK-Ireland/Biography-
Drama/98 mins/R for violence, language and some drug content) 3.25 pm
Friday Turner Classic Movies. Watch this if you liked Midnight Express,
Hombre or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Those who know him for
the salad dressing only have a chance to see one of the men who defined
silver screen presence; Paul Newman's role as the indefatigable prisoner is
his best, for BC on TV (except possibly for his alcoholic lawyer in The Verdict)
and the tale of resistance to injustice is particularly relevant to the Caribbean.
Excellent. Almost unbelievably, this is the first time it's been picked.
BEST OF THE REST: Mon: *Django Unchained, 10 pm HBO; Tues: The
Long Riders, 6 pm TCM; Wed: Eyes Wide Shut, 10 pm TCM; Thurs: *Bev-
erly Hills Cop, 6 pm TCM; Fri: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, 5.40 pm HBOF;
Sat: Field of Dreams, 6 am Max.
*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 23, 2014
A Trifecta of the Week's
Best Films on the Box
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is today's best film pick. Magnificent
storytelling via camerawork and grunts. And some memorable Western lines.
What is the film about and at what stage of pro-
duction are you now?
AH & MG: Play the Devil is a coming-of-age story
about a young working class family living in Paramin.
At this time we are in the development phase, cur-
rently looking for both cast and financing. We recently
had an incredible casting session where we found a
number of great possibilities for roles in the film.
We have some equity committed to the film and have
also been shortlisted for the production grant offered
by the T&T Film Co (TTFC). With that we hope to
begin filming in June of this year.
Abigail, you're known for your photos, but how
did you come to film? Is it a natural extension of
AH: I have been involved in film on and off since
the early 90s in many capacities. I worked mostly
in production for many years behind the scenes but
then when digital made filmmaking more accessible,
I started shooting films myself. I made an experimental
short (Between The Lines) on moko jumbies, which
featured in the T&T Film Festival (TTFF) New Media
exhibit in 2012. I also worked on and co-produced
the feature documentary La Giata, which won the
People's Choice Award at TTFF 2012. Last year I
shot Nicola Cross's short: On my Shoulders.
Play the Devil is my first experience as a leading
producer on a fiction feature. It's an exciting new
direction for me.
Maria and I have collaborated in the past. She
edited my moko jumbie piece, and when she came
to me with this script I really fell in love with it---
it's a very poetic and powerful film. I introduced her
to Paramin and the jab (blue devils) last year, which
planted a seed for this film.
Film in some ways is a natural progression from
still photography in that it requires a lot of relating
to people and places. What I love about film is that
it's even more collaborative.
Maria, what drew you to the project? What is
your role in the production, and what is Abigail's?
MG: I came to Trinidad and witnessed the jab in
Paramin last year and was blown away both by the
intensity of the ritual itself, and the stunning landscape
and really warm community from which it was born.
I said to Abigail, "I want to tell a story about a boy
who plays the devil," and that was the very simple
seed planted in my imagination.
I wrote the script and will direct it. I will also pro-
duce alongside Abigail, as that is typically what hap-
pens in one's early career---filmmakers are required
to do most things, sometimes even distribute and
That said, I think our roles as producers are very
different and complementary on this film. I have
very few relationships on the ground here in Trinidad
and so raising local support in the way of equity and
in-kind partnerships is not my strength. Abigail has
taken a lead in that regard and is really doing so well.
She also has access to locations that we will need
and has deep ties within the Paramin community,
as she has been photographing them for many years
My strength is in the creative direction of the film
and as a producer really within the industry---under-
standing how to structure the financing and position
the film for the marketplace. I have some very strong
relationships that could really elevate the potential
of our film down the road, and so I am hoping we
make something really powerful as I feel the script
really has great potential to go places internationally
and succeed on all levels.
Maria, your 2008 film Rain has been a critical
hit and you also got it shown on US cable TV---a
real coup for a film by a then unknown Caribbean
filmmaker. How did you accomplish that?
MG: Rain was a really interesting experience for
me, and a tough teacher in some ways, but I learned
so very much. That film premiered at the Toronto
International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2008 and then
two weeks later the world economy collapsed. It was
a very tough year for independent films because the
market was so saturated and distributors didn't feel
comfortable paying what they would have due to the
terrifying economic climate. CONTINUES ON B30
Bahamian filmmaker Maria Govan and T&T pho-
tographer Abigail Hadeed are collaborating on a
feature film, for which they held a casting call two
weeks ago. LISA ALLEN-AGOSTINI interviewed them
via e-mail about the film and their work.
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