The 2016 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival
Film writer, BC Pires, will be picking a Film of the Day every day. Pires sat on the first TT Film Fest Jury and wrote the Judge’s Report and has been the Youth Jury’s mentor since its inception in 2014. A different film will be picked every day, and other worthwhile films mentioned. Because of the limitations of programming schedules, the film of the day may not necessarily be the “best” one. Films with an * have been or will be daily picks.
The 2016 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival runs from 20-27th September. You can view the full festival calendar here
BC Pires has been writing about film from an informed lay perspective since March 1988. He served on the first Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival jury in 2009 and wrote the Jury’s Report.
And Today’s Film Pick is….
Before the Rooster Crows
Before the Rooster Crows (aka Antes Que Cante el Gallo) (Ari Maniel Cruz/ 2016/ Puerto Rico/ Drama-Young Adult/ 98 mins/ Spanish with English subtitles/ Rated 18+) 3.30pm Screen 8, MovieTowne, Port of Spain Q+A.
One of the strongest films under adjudication for the Youth Jury prize, Before the Rooster Crows impressed the adult organizers of the TT Film Fest enough to include it in the grownup competition: it is one of two youth films also in competition for the Narrative Feature Prize (the other being Play the Devil, which is itself also in competition for Best TT Film and could easily do the double).
The film takes its title from a Puerto Rican idiomatic expression referring to a young woman’s first menstruation – in Trinidad, using a similar axiom employed by maxi-taxi drivers and touts, it might have been called, After 12 is Lunch. The name zooms in on the subject matter immediately – as does the cinematography in the opening sequences, in which the troubled young protagonist makes her entrance and an entrance. Her troubles – a mother who doesn’t care much about her but pretends to, a grandmother who does care but pretends not to, and a father in prison – are those of any rural community anywhere in the world but the massive screen presence of the 15-year-old Miranda Purcell makes what might be a universal story entirely personal: Purcell will own the role of Carmin longer than Disney did Happy Birthday to You. She is excellent. There are some troubling scenes in which the father appears to be far too close to the daughter but mental arithmetic erases that particular worry – she would have been nought when he went to jail for 12 years – and substitutes mental agony: the thought that drunken teenagers being raped while comatose on their birthdays is no big deal in the countryside, no matter which country it might be. As sad a film as its star is magnificent in the lead role.
Also consider: El Acompanante, 3.30pm; *Mustang, 6pm, Miles Ahead, 8.30pm Screen 1; *A Monster with a Thousand Heads BEST FILM OF THE DAY Q+A, Screen 2.