(1997 TV Movie)

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10/10
Beautiful, thoughtful and controversial TV drama.
dfddwm-106-3368101 June 2021
Much more than an inter-racial Romeo and Juliet story set on a Caribbean slave plantation - questions the whole nature of historical and community memory. An uncomfortable questioning. But the visuals are strong with a superb cast of actors some well seasoned (a magnificent Daniel Massey in one of his rare later appearances as the rigid cruel plantation owner) some making their first marks, Paloma Baeza and Kolade Agboke as the "star crossed" lovers, and an early performance from Peter Mullan as the de-humanised slave driver. Each character is three dimensional and convincing - the most tragic, and possibly the most contentious by the end of the unfolding tragedy, is taken by Joe Seneca who confesses to his own part in his son's downfall within the plantation regime. I think this latter side to what is basically a moving art film with outstanding production values, from the "golden age" of Channel Four around the time of Jeremy Isaacs' leadership, beautiful filming and a highly evocative soundtrack from Barrington Pheloung, aroused considerable criticism which has resulted in the film being consigned to the deep archive in FilmFour's cellars after just two showings on TV. I feel this is a great shame since it is a well paced film that also has the power to ask questions about a historical subject whose results are still very much living with us today. We can't have enough of this kind of beautiful thoughtful television drama.
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