ttff/16 future critics: Shoot The Girl (Jafta Propella)
Ryan Nanton-Student, Ken Gordon School of Journalism and Communication Studies
If you suffer from a weak heart or find yourself unable to cope with a tension laden movie, the Jamaican short film, ‘Shoot the Girl,’ is a production that you would probably want to stay away from – far away from. But for the avid filmgoer it would surely stoke your fancies and land itself a spot on your top ten list. From its first second all the way to its last, the 20 minute film takes you on a roller coaster ride, high up to cloud nine.
The momentum never stops as the main characters, a Rastafarian dad and his 10-year-old daughter, Likkle, and a gangster, appropriately called Satan, are involved in a real life hide-and-seek game, where the winner gets the glorious prize of staying alive.
From the onset you are given an all access pass to infamous Trenchtown, Jamaica. In a maze of galvanize fences and densely peopled shacks, Likkle is trained by her father for the inevitable; his death. She canvases the community in ninja style, scoping out secret and vulnerable places alike in hopes of eluding a gruesome demise. Her father is astounded by her adaptability to the game and her abilities. She would, however, be given a rude awakening as what she’d grown to love and know as a game would instantly become her reality.
Before you can blink or finish sneezing, her father is shot at point blank range by Satan, in full view of Likkle and Satan’s two accomplices. Ambiguity is widespread as one wonders what would have inspired such a horrid death to a man who appeared to be model father figure. Nevertheless, Likkle’s skills are tested and she storms through the narrow alleys and tunnels to make good her escape of the gangsters – but she fails.
A play on the word ‘shoot’ is integral to how the story unfolds – you can shoot someone with a gun or with a cell phone. Either way, depending on your aim, both “weapons” have the power to change a life. Everyone is ready to “shoot” Satan. But he remains relentless in his attempts to murder Likkle in like manner as her father. The community “cavalry” rides in, armed with their mobile phone cameras shooting footage of Satan during the entire incident; from Likkle’s sprint across the community, all the way to where she is cornered and where the barrel of Satan’s gun meets her eyes. Interestingly, she would have her cake and eat it too, as revenge and justice – two sides of the same coin – meet Satan at the heart of the community.
The resonating message of “it takes a whole village to raise a child” is conveyed as the community stands behind her. Satan keeps aim at Likkle, but she’s unfazed, seeming to know her fate. Satan has lost, but vows like the real Prince of Darkness of Biblical fame, to kill all who stood in his way. Nonetheless, the overwhelming spirit of love is hard to ignore which also causes viewers to melt into a pot of absurdity, slowly realizing that gangsters were outsmarted by a 10-year-old and her arsenal of cell phone cameras. So it’s Satan versus innocence, in a tussle of violence, blood and death. That should be enough to “trigger” a viewing! Just make sure your heart can take it.