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God Loves the Fighter ‘grittily realistic’ film

Published: 
Friday, September 20, 2013
A scene from Damien Marcano’s much-anticipated film God Loves the Fighter.

The eighth T&T Film Festival runs until October 1. Guardian columnist, BC Pires, has been writing about film from an informed lay perspective since March 1988. He served on the first T&T Film Festival jury in 2009 and wrote the Jury’s Report. BC will pick a Film of the Day for every day of the festival. Today’s choice is: 

 

God Loves the Fighter (Damian Marcano/ 2013/ Trinidad & Tobago-USA/ Crime-Drama / 104 mins/ For ages 18 and over) 8.30pm MovieTowne POS. Director present for Q&A after screening. 

 

God Loves the Fighter is the only Trinidad & Tobago non-documentary feature length film in this year’s festival and that alone is sufficient justification for its selection but it would have been picked even if it had been made in Europe, Africa, Asia or North or South America and even though its own director would hesitate to call the film “polished”; indeed, the patriotic reviewer would employ the phrase “grittily realistic” in the same way the dishonest real estate agent would “a fixer-upper”. 

 

But whatever Trinidad-born, US-raised director Damian Marcano loses in production values and story originality (or lack thereof) in his first feature film, he more than compensates for with the penetrating quality of his vision. If this is guerrilla cinema, Marcano is Trinidad’s most promising Che Guevara to date. 

 

From the opening scene in which a vagrant, overlooked and undervalued by his society, is elevated to Shakespearean chorus, the viewer is told, in spades, as it were, that Marcano does not just have something to say, but will say it in a uniquely Trinidadian way. 

 

The weaknesses in the film are self-evident, undeniable and largely attributable to the lowly budget. The strengths will likely be more apparent to foreign than local audiences, the latter of whom will bring to the cinema the same prejudices Trinidadians bring to the neighbourhoods in which the film is shot. 

 

People “outside” will more quickly see that these are worthy subjects of contemplation and their story has been well told, all things considered. 

 

 

Best of the rest 
• Fatal Assistance, 11.45 am UWI. 

• Songs of Redemption, 1.30 pm 
UWI, director Q&A after screening 

Films start promptly at advertised 
times. 

• Starred films have been or will be 
picked as daily selections

 

 

10 am
Film Programme Building, UWI
No Bois Man No Fraid: Christopher Laird, 2013, TT/ 72 mins / GA
Q+A session, director present
 

 

11 am
MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain
Secondary Schools’ Short Film Festival Selection: 2013, TT / 5 mins / GA
 

 

11.45am
Film Programme Building, UWI
Fatal Assistance: Raoul Peck, 2013, Haiti / 99 mins/ PG
 
1 pm 
MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain
On My Shoulders: Nicola Cross, 2013, TT / 6 mins/ GA
Carmita:  Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas, 2013, Dominican Republic, Mexico / 80 mins / GA
Q+A session, director present
 

 

1.30 pm
Film Programme building, UWI
Songs of Redemption: Miquel Galofré, Amanda Sans Pantling, 2013, Jamaica, Spain / 78 mins / PG
Q+A session, director present
 

 

3 pm 
Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook
Auntie: Lisa Harewood, 2013, Barbados / 16 mins / GA
She Doesn’t Want to Sleep Alone: Natalia Beristain, 2012, Mexico / 83 mins / 16+
 
3.15 pm 
Film Programme Building, UWI
Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution: Bruce Paddington, 2013, TT / 150 mins / PG
Q+A session, director present

 

 

3.30 pm 
MovieTowne, Port of Spain
The Right Thing: Anderson Edghill, 2013, Antigua, TT / 7 mins / PG
Meh Brotha: Patrice James, 2013, TT / 8 mins / GA
To the Night: Kojo McPherson, 2012, TT / 22 mins / PG13
The Silver Dollar: Steve Hernandez, 2013, TT/ 20 mins / GA
The Tombs: Jerry LaMothe, 2012, Haiti, USA / 29 mins / PG
Q+A session, director 
present
 

5.30 pm
The Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook
Dance: Janine Fung, 2013, TT / 10 min / GA
Small Man: The World My Father Made: Mariel Brown, 2013, TT / 10 mins / GA
Dirty Real Havana: Claudia Ferman, 2009, Cuba, USA / 42 mins / 16+
Q+A session, director present
 

 

6 pm 
Medulla Art Gallery, Woodbrook
Opening night New Media, performance with Olivia McGilchrist
 

 

6 pm 
MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain
Middle of Nowhere: Ava DuVernay, 2012, USA / 97 mins / PG13
 
8 pm 
The Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook
NO: Director: Pablo Larraín, 2012, Chile / 118 mins / PG13
 

 

8.30 pm 
MovieTowne, Port of Spain
Thavenot Street: Denith McNicolls, 2013, TT / 5 mins / PG13
God Loves the Fighter: Damian Marcano, 2013, TT, USA / 104 mins / 18+
Q+A session, director present

 

 

Guardian Media Ltd is the Festival’s official media partner. Every day, Festival picks from BC Pires will be highlighted in the T&T Guardian.

 

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