Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Hey folks. Editor Jules here. My home country Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating 60 years of Independence on August 31, 2022. So I thought what better way to celebrate than to have a series of six articles celebrating Trini content. For our fourth part we countdown six great short films.
If you’re like you lead a busy life and find it hard to watch all the movies and TV shows that you would like. Or maybe you’re not into watching movies and TV shows, which is cool too. Red Mango Reviews is a judgement-free zone. Anywho, for the busy tv/movie fans like myself it may be difficult to carve out the time to watch a two-hour film, or sometimes even a 90-minute film. But a breezy short that’s under half an hour? Sure, I can squeeze that in. In that vein, we will be looking at six Trinidad and Tobago narrative shorts:
#6 Flying the Coup
The July 1990 attempted coup was one of the darkest moments in Trinidad and Tobago’s history. But we Trinis can find humour in everything, and that is the case with Ryan Lee’s 2014 comedy short Flying the Coup. The film is about trigger happy rookie police officer David (Renaldo Frederick) and slacker Joseph (Keston Dick) on the first night of the attempted coup and the misadventures they experienced. It is a light, fun romp and enjoyable throughout.
We go from light to dark with our next entry, Shaun Escayg’s gritty 2012 crime drama Fish. The plot of Fish follows two homeless cousins Fish and Sticky (Marc Escayg and Carlos Quashie Jr respectively) who operate as petty thieves in the local market. Their lives take a dark turn when they are captured and interrogated by some vicious criminals who believe they stole money from them. With strong performances, especially from the main villain “Surgeon”, and a tense, tight script this is one Fish definitely worth catching.
#4 Salty Dog
Tales of generation gaps will always be timeless, and Oliver Milne’s thoughtful 2017 short Salty Dog is no exception. The central character is Mortimer or Mort (veteran actor Errol Roberts), a boatman who had been living down the islands (small islands off of Trinidad) but due to unfortunate circumstances has to leave. His only option is to move in with his estranged son Darian (the multi-talented Nickolai Salcedo) and his wife Zoe (South African-born Canadian actress Kandyse McClure) in their upscale city home.
With powerhouse performances by the leads, clever cinematography and an ocean of heart Salty Dog truly sails high.
A young man working in a cheese factory discovers a method to package marijuana into the cheese and starts raking in the cheddar in his small fishing community. The set-up for this 2015 crime comedy is interesting enough, but director/co-writer Damian Marcano adds a goofy, likable protagonist in Skimma (because he skins milk, get it? You get it) and other odd and entertaining residents.
The feature length version of Chee$e will be opening the 2023 edition of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and I am looking forward to checking it out. In the interim why not serve yourself a slice of laughs with the original Chee$e.
In TT we refer to our mongrel dogs as “pothounds” and Christopher Guinness’ 2011 short follows one adorable pothound in an adventure-filled day. With cool GoPro camera work that puts you in the shoes (or rather, paws) of our protagonist and a whimsical story that adds a dash of the fantastical this Pothound is one very good boy.
#1 Doubles With Slight Pepper
When it comes to TT short film content there is really no better than Ian Harnarine’s 2011drama short Doubles With Slight Pepper. When a man returns from Canada to his estranged wife and doubles vendor son in Trinidad old wounds reopen and new tensions arise.
The themes are resonant with local audience but universal, the acting is brilliant and the emotions powerful. While a short it feels like a feature film experience and one that will continue to resonate long after the credits roll.
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.
So that’s my list. Any that you would add? And you can check Part 3 of this list below: