Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Am reading and being unpleasantly informed about about what it was like to live as a dissident under the Cuban regime: Becoming Reinaldo Arenas by Jorge Olivares, as 'Before Night Falls' was suggested by a bookclub member who always introduces surprising choices-- her first and last being the sex one by Anais Nin (interestingly born to Cuban parents).  The beginning of the Olivares book was a bit of an eye-opener but not that surprising to discover that Cuba like Russia heavily censored their artists, especially those not following the Party line (bizarrely artistic licence seems to be challenging the status quo to push boundaries).  I mused a bit as I remember given 'Mother' by Gorky to read by an aunt who espoused socialist ideas and was well read and  then returning the book with the comment that it seemed gloomy and boring; having been brought up on a diet of primarily Enid Blyton and not realising the (bad) golliwogs most probably referred to people like me!   Likewise in the climate of non-availability of books, my mission was to go into other people's houses and borrow their books, I made it to a prominent Portuguese family's house and while the father was railing at his fun-loving child for not reading I defended her by saying some of the classics were boring-- having just struggled through the first part of Lorna Doone and abandoning it mid-way, missing the whole point of the story as it seemed to be a novel about being cold and hungry and written in a way designed to bore an average 11yr old.  On the other hand I ended up reading porn quite by accident, thinking a book called the Honeypot was about Winnie the Pooh- not expecting to get it from a fairly conservative Muslim family's house - but that's Guyana for you!

On a separate note I was relieved to read that Amy Goodman, she of 'Exceptions to the Rulers' was freed of possible prison charges for merely reporting encroachment of an oil company on Native American reservation land!  Sad to think that the country crying freedom of the press/information is itself guilty of the sins they accuse others of! Although I did not agree that American agents should be exposed I was glad of the Wiki-leaks scandal as it confirmed a lot of things that people suspected - such as the US blocking an increase of the minimum wage of Haitians after the devastating hurricane-- and one should wonder what business it is of theirs to be involved in Haiti's public policy? Also looking bad for them is the terrible infringement of Human Rights to keep someone in solitary confinement  for ages-- the young soldier who gave the documents to Wikileaks people.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bazodee - Trinidadian film

I enjoyed several aspects of this film-- kudos to the Trinis!

The drama revolves around a very attractive Indo-Trinidadian girl - I liked that she was normal-coloured and not the usual washed-out aspiring-to-white of the heroines of Indian/Bollywood movies. I thought she acted well enough but felt sorry for her to have to wear some pretty weird asymmetrical outfits featuring a lot of purple...maybe the producers were trying to promote Trini haute couture which missed the mark and just looked weird. I also liked that the 'heroine' was a normal-sized female with back fat and heavy-ish thights (I would have outfitted her in something more appropriate in the last scene!) and not a skinny stick-insect; she also seemed to have a good singing voice.  That said, poor Montano with his squashed nose didn't quite make it to believable as the alternative to a hunky, rich guy who clearly adored the said heroine...AND whose father was going to bolster said heroine's father's grandiose business plans.  So apart from that obvious plot weakness and a rushed ending, it was a good attempt and the rivaled the Indian/Bollywood pictures with good original music.

I appreciated the small comic touches, like some men in the background leaving as someone comments that they wouldn't do that. Also, the choice of scenery and photography were fairly good. I would have worked in some steel pan music but the J'overt scenes was good and clearly no vulgar whine was included in the Carnival scenes, unlike Guyana where the participants sometimes try to out-vulgar each other!
At roughly one and a half hours, they had to speed up the plot and veered towards the unbelievable with the father signing away his business and the evil brother having a change of heart in the end so that all ends well. I must be getting old as I thought the kissing scenes at the end unnecessary and becoming a bit too graphic for a PG-13.  But on the whole..good effort with room for improvement Trinis!