The ttff/14 kicked off last night in grand style with the world premiere of Pan! Our Music Odyssey at the historic Globe cinema, followed by a reception and party at Zen nightclub, formerly the De Luxe cinema. Our blogger, Aurora Herrera, recaps the night.
The very special energy of last night’s gala opening had a lot to do with the film being screened and the place that it was being shown. Pan! Our Music Odyssey, is a brilliantly cohesive docudrama about the evolution of the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, the only new acoustic musical instrument invented in the twentieth century.
The film has a team of four creatives behind it: the director, Belgium-born Jérôme Guiot, two French producers, Barthélémy Fougea and T&T resident Jean Michel Gibert, and a Trinidadian writer, Kim Johnson.
Through creative and bold dramatisation of the elevation of pan from a badjohn’s pastime in the 1940’s to the national instrument and a social unifier, juxtaposed with the intensity of the modern-day Panorama competition, the film is sumptuous and fulfilling. It opens up the palette with stories of passionate pan players from all over the world, T&T, France, Japan, the USA, whose lives, once touched by the magic of the steel oil drum, have never been the same.
The score was quite enchanting and stimulating—there was always some part of my body moving to the music. The storytelling technique, the shooting and the editing all had a symphonic quality, and transported the audience into the moment immediately. In the steel-pan creation scene, when the water was thrown onto the hot surface to cool the metal of the oil drum, you could feel the steam on your skin.
Costuming, locations and set design added perfectly to the feel of the story.
The movie made me, and other members of the audience, feel very proud to be a Trini.
As one person who saw Pan! said afterwards, “This is such an important film. As a Trini you grow up knowing the story of pan but not really knowing the story of pan. This film teaches you so much. I think that they should have this in schools as part of their music education curriculum and also in the general history of Trinidad and Tobago.”
The location of the world premiere of Pan! Our Music Odyssey, the Globe cinema, also lent a mystical quality to the evening.
As Founder and Festival Director Bruce Paddington said in his pre-film remarks, “We are in the only remaining stand-alone classic cinema in Trinidad and Tobago. This cinema is the last monument to this country’s rich film exhibition history.”
After the film Kim Johnson said, “It was a Globe night. The audience laughed and wept and had an experience that they could not have had anywhere else. It has been a wonderful night.”
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