Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 23rd 2014 Contents The year s best week for the range of
quality film choice features half-a-dozen
films today alone that were in contention
for best film of the week, including two
Westerns, one new, one old (*Django
Unchained, 2.25 pm HBO, Once Upon
a Time in the West, 1 pm TCM), an
American animal documentary that is
very powerful without being even slightly sentimental (Chimpanzee, 8.45
am HBOF), a simultaneously blood-boiling/heartbreaking Palestinian doc-
umentary (5 Broken Cameras, 4.10 pm Max), today s choice itself and the
only Frank Sinatra movie that could be mentioned in their company (Von
Ryan s Express, 4.10 pm TCM). It s a particularly good week for Westerns,
with two chances in the week to watch one of the best, even if it didn t make
the cut (The Culpepper Cattle Company, 8 pm tomorrow and again 9.45 pm
Thursday, Enc3), a great Scorsese/De Niro remake of a Gregory Peck/Robert
Mitchum classic film noir (Cape Fear, 10 pm Tuesday TCM) and one of Spike
Lee s most perfectly realised films (25th Hour, 8.15 pm Thursday MaxW).
Take a bow, Flow, DirecTV.
TODAY'S BEST FILM: Hard Candy (David Slade/2005/USA/Drama-
Thriller/103 mins/Rated R for disturbing violent and aberrant sexual content
involving a teen and for language) 2.15 pm Max West. Watch this if you liked
Little Children, The Paperboy or The Lives of Others. One of the (relatively)
minor awards Hard Candy won was the Phoenix Film Critics Society "Over-
looked Film of the Year." It sums up the film s unfortunate history---but what
else can you expect with a film centred on paedophilia and under-age sex?
There are a couple of bumps in story, direction and pacing but, otherwise
the film is first rate---and in any case, it is one you watch for the performances,
particularly from the young actress, which are so overwhelming that the film
really needs nothing more; that it packs in quite a handful of twists is icing
on the cake. Long after you forget the plot details, though, Ellen Page s lead
role will haunt you. Almost as rewarding as it is disturbing.
REST OF THE WEEK: Scarface (Brian De Palma/1978 Drama-Thriller-
Unintentional Comedy/USA/170 mins/R) 10 pm Wednesday Turner Classic
Movies. Watch this if liked Goodfellas, Carlito s Way or The Godfather. For
Al Pacino s Cuban "acceng" alone, Scarface is worthwhile. Treated as an
excessively violent cartoon about the cocaine trade in Florida, it s terrific and
offers some of the most quotable dialogue of all time. "Look at you now!"
"Fly, pelly-cong, fly!" Sadly, young people---and the director 30 years ago,
and still---treat it seriously. As pure escapism, it s hard to top, though. Say
hello to his little freng.
The Ox-Bow Incident (William A Wellman/1943/USA/Western-Crime-
Drama/75 mins/Unrated but unsuitable for younger children) 8 pm Friday
Turner Classic Movies BEST FILM OF THE WEEK. Watch this if you liked
High Noon, Bad Day at Black Rock or Hombre. Though there are limitations
modern audiences spoilt by computer-generated special effects might find
difficult to overlook, such as the most important scene---the lynching---clearly
being shot in a studio, this is one of the great American Westerns. Its many
strengths include a great script (based on a true story), superb direction and
a magnificent performance from Henry Fonda (and an almost-as-good sup-
porting cast featuring Anthony Quinn). Not so much for the crowd that
requires their Westerns to be riddled with bullets as for those who like to
leave a film riddled with doubt.
BEST OF THE REST: Mon: Marvel s The Avengers, 9 pm HBO; Tues:
Trouble with the Curve, 6 pm HBO; Wed: Out of Africa, 2.50 pm TCM;
Thurs: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 9 pm HBOC; Fri: Major Dundee,
9.20 pm Enc3; Sat: Angel Dog, 6.4 5am HBOF.
*Starred films have been chosen in the last three months. Scheduled
Internet times often vary on the day, particularly around month-end.
Miss Miles actor Cecila Salazar draws inspiration backstage from a photo album given to her by the family of
Gene Miles. PHOTO: ANU LAKHAN
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt March 24, 2013
CONTINUES FROM PAGE B3
The story of Gene Miles is a tragedy: a woman
who strayed close enough to the nexus of power in
pre-and post-Independence Trinidad to see the dis-
figuring impact of political control, shed light on
that ugliness, and was destroyed by it. She spoke
out, in the 1960s, against a seemingly clear-cut,
almost banal, instance of corruption, the Gas Station
The simple observation that a senior figure in the
government s licencing of gas stations appeared to
be lacking impartiality in his decision-making was
spun into a show trial, more focused, at times, on
Miles s integrity than that of the government.
She weathered irrelevant lines of questioning about
whether she had ever been a topless model, stuck
to her guns, and lived to see a scant measure of justice
afforded her efforts. The senior factory inspector,
her boss whose apparent blindness to certain gas-
station licence applications sparked the whole affair,
was removed from his position at the Ministry of
Petroleum and Mines in June 1968.
Miss Miles---The Woman of the World tells this
story from Gene Miles s perspective, following her
from birth to death. It is a one-woman play: we see
one actor playing one character.
Everyone else is played by Gene Miles: parents,
the scolding nun who tells her she is inappropriately
dressed for a teacher at a convent school; the men
who question her in court, try to shut her up, watch
her shut up in the "madhouse in St Ann s," rape her
and see her unravel, drunk and incoherent in the
It is a play at times unsettling to its audience. We
watch Gene Miles grow up, watch her change her
clothes, from schoolgirl s uniform to work suit to
evening wear to straitjacket. We listen to her voice
mature, her values form under influence of the church
and the example set by her father, himself a whistle-
blower of another era.
Mr Miles exposed the Caura Dam Racket. There
is no record of his ever being questioned about
appearing bare-chested in front of a camera.
Most actors will tell you they draw heavily on
"emotional memory" on stage: think about something
that makes you sad so you can shed real tears on
stage, for example. For Salazar, Miss Miles is inex-
tricably tangled up with real memories. Part of this
is the collaborative, improvisational stagecraft Tony
Hall christened the "Jouvay Process."
There is a moment in the play when schoolgirl
Gene recounts leading her house to victory in the
march-past at sports day: "Our house adds flags to
the event and changes it forever.
"That was me," says Salazar, "Except it wasn t
flags, it was fishnets."
Salazar feels a closeness to Gene Miles based on
more than playing her on stage.
"She was born in August, I was born in August.
We are both Leos. She went to St Joseph s Convent,
I went to St Joseph s Convent. She s a white Trinida-
dian with Portuguese parents, my mother is Por-
tuguese. I lived in Glencoe, right next to where Gene
Miles lived, till I was about three years old."
Whatever its provenance, the authenticity of the
performance is endorsed by a photo album which
Salazar brings into her dressing room every time she
prepares to go on stage as Gene Miles.
It is a gift from the Miles family, who did not
participate in the development of the script, preferring
to leave painful memories undisturbed. The album,
filled with original photographs of Gene as child and
adult, was entrusted to Hall and Salazar after her
surviving family had seen the play for themselves.
Miss Miles---The Woman of the World will next
be staged in Hartford, Connecticut, April 24- 26,
at Garmany Hall, Austin Arts Center, Trinity
Miss Miles goes to Connecticut
A Trifecta of the Week's Best Films on the Box
Ellen Page in the disturbing but rewarding film Hard Candy.
TV makes a comeback
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