Thanks to Roslin A. Khan for the wonderful review of the film, from a Caribbean post-colonial perspective. Here’s the link to the original piece that appeared in CineCaribes:
While Ian Harnarine, the writer and director of this two-time award winning short film set in post-colonial Trinidad Tobago, describes it as capturing, in an authentic manner, his personal experience with his own father during the latter’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, a North American reviewer sees similarities with the work of the Brooklyn-born playwright and film director, Peter Sollet.
However, from a Caribbean perspective, this short feature may be described as exemplifying the estrangement, alienation, and sense of hopelessness often experienced by colonial and post-colonial subjects, not only in Trinidad and Tobago, but also throughout the Caribbean as well as in other countries once subjected to the dominance of colonialism.
This negative perception of selfhood pervades and provides the circular framework of the story, evidenced by Dhani’s thoughts as a representative of his ethnic group at the beginning and his reiteration of these thoughts at the end. Furthermore, as the plot develops, Caribbean and other colonial and post-colonial viewers can readily identify with the “double” dynamic of estrangement and alienation, accompanied by hopelessness that are skillfully transmitted through Dhani’s convincing and expressive body language, his conflicting emotions, his father’s recounting of his disappointing experience in Canada, and his sincere attempts to make amends, all enhanced by the marked absence of endearing terms such “son” or his name, “Dhani” and “Pa” until the signing over of the property and the realization of the serious nature of his father’s illness.
While the shared joy during the Parang celebration underscores the multicultural nature of Caribbean societies and the revelation of the secret ingredient for the family’s economic survival combine to effectively bring fleeting relief to existing tensions, this relief is soon followed by a return to the sense of hopelessness when Dhani’s blood is not the same type as his father’s. He feels totally powerless and his reiteration of his thoughts at the start of the movie is understood.
Cinematographically, the lighting is excellent and the diction is clear. However, the inclusion of sub-titles successfully makes it more marketable globally and sets the stage for the success of the feature-length film which is sure to be an excellent production.
For more information on Ian’s work and Doubles with Slight Pepper, visit the film’s website here. You can also watch the film here.