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TIFF '09 Day 6: Blackness

CRAB TRAP Sometimes you don't know you are hungry for something until it is placed right in front of you. I didn't realize how hungry I was to see Black people on screen. I mean, I know there is a dearth of films with Black people in them, but I didn't realize just how desperate I was to see them (me) on a regular basis. Watching CRAB TRAP at TIFF today, I relaxed into the arms of comfort. The Black people on screen were speaking Spanish, but some of them looked like people I knew, and some of them looked nothing like people I know, but being Black, I automatically went into my "wonder what he/she is mixed with" train of thought. Then my love of culture kicked in and I began to take note of how the Afro-Colombian words flavoured the Spanish dialogue.

Like the main character, Daniel, I entered a world that seems like time forgot with its open beach, wooden houses, and tropical landscape filled with green. Time has not completely forgotten La Barra, however, and modernity and European ways are intruding on the village. The native people do not legally own the land, and the European newcomer who does have legal title to his land wants to built a mini-resort for tourists. Too, the local economy has been devastated by over-fishing. The fishermen have gone further and further away to find fish, and the villagers are not able to eat the food that has traditionally sustained them. With the elder, Cerebro as our guide, we understand the realities of La Barra as an enchanted place trying to hold stead-fast to it's traditions in the face of changing world. Entering into Cerebro's world is the mysterious Daniel. We don't know where he is coming from or where he is headed, but this mystery is not as important as the world we enter into with him.

I enjoyed this simple story, and characters like Jazmin the sad Madonna, and her eldest daughter, Lucia, who has a mind and dreams if her own. The relationship that develops between Daniel and Lucia is at the heart of the film and I will never forget the image of the two of them running on the beach, with Lucia streaming ahead of the white stranger who can't keep up with her free spirit. Thank you Oscar Ruiz Navia for putting this meal in front of me. I hope you will enjoy this repast as well as I did.


gordo said…
this film was a complete surprise, I saw it by accident and really loved it

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