Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Plot: A young doubles vendor in Trinidad is reunited with his estranged father who has returned from Toronto and is suffering with a serious illness.
Background: The 2011 short Doubles With Slight Pepper short was written and directed by Ian Harnarine, a Canadian who was born to immigrant parents from Trinidad. The film is dedicated to his father. One of the executive producers is THE Spike Lee, who Harnarine took classes under while pursuing a film degree at New York University.
Review: Doubles With Slight Pepper is an earnest, thoughtful and relatable slice-of-life drama. The highlight of the film is easily the strong performances. Errol Sitahal is splendid as Ragbir, a man who had good intentions but ended up wounding his family. There is a pathos to him that feels tangible. Sanjiv Boodhu does well as his son Dhani, whose resentment and bitterness weighs heavy on his heart. He also delivers on some resonant narration. And Susan Hannays-Abraham is pitch perfect as patient, loving mother Sumintra. All three bring this well-written story to life with layered performances, and the viewer comes away feeling like you know this family despite spending just over 15 minutes with them.
Yours truly is a Trinidadian (I may have mentioned that before) and the film is overflowing with love for the red, white and black. The short is called Doubles With Slight Pepper so the country’s beloved (and extremely delicious) street food is placed front and centre. The story is set during Christmas time so we do get to hear the sounds of joyful sounds of parang, the traditional Trini Christmas music, as well as some pleasant steelpan music at the start. As a Trini these aspects put a smile on my face.
The plotline of a Trini going to “foreign” to make a better life is a timeless one and this film is one of the better treatments I have seen. And like its titular food Doubles With Slight Pepper is quick, sweet, a little spicy and very pleasurable to consume. I highly recommend it (both the film and the street food).
Editor Jules’s Score: 8.5 out of 10
You can check out Doubles With Slight Pepper for yourself on YouTube by clicking here. And you can check out more great TT content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.