Trinidadian Short Film; She Paradise
Trinidad and Tobago is a diverse, rich amalgamation of unique cultures fertile enough for director Maya Cozier to tap into and create narratives that simultaneously juxtapose and parallel our realities. Following the release of the award-winning short film, Short Drop, Maya continues to raise the bar for the local film industry with She Paradise.
The short film follows a teenage girl named Sparkle as she sheepishly navigates the world of a girl’s soca-music dance group. The story unfolds with perfect pacing giving us little information on anyone’s background or lives outside of this afternoon-into-evening, where the entire film takes place, but we’re already given the direction the film is heading. Early into the film we learn that Sparkle is in this as a means of obtaining money and we’re immediately rooting for her despite having heard very few words from her directly. Raw, uncensored Trinidadian dialogue sets the tone of the story and while some see the girl’s group as entertainment, we understand the gravity and dedication that goes into their craft as a way to increase their standard of living. The dynamics between Sparkle and the vivacious group member, Mica, are explored, giving us a stark contrast in their personas. Requiring no external validation, Mica is confident in herself and her talents. She takes full control of her environment and owns her narrative. Despite this polarity, her character does not subjugate Sparkle’s presence. She sees something in Sparkle and somewhat takes her under her wing. It’s within the solo interactions of the two we get a glimmer of Sparkle’s personality shining through her timid demeanor.
Written by both Maya Cozier and Melina Brown, the script accurately explores Trinidadian banter and dialogue with flowing conversation that does not shy away from our natural twang. Talented female leads bring the script to life with compelling performances and a noticeable natural aptitude for acting. The actresses prove to be raw talent that have earned their spots in front the camera.
With a run time that falls just under fifteen minutes, She Paradise provides a palatable story-line that can easily be extended into a feature length film. Maya gives enough room for further plot and character development that can hold an audience’s attention. Of course, there seems to be some irony regarding the film’s title and its premise, making it very interesting to see what possibly lies further ahead.