Caribbean Cinema: A New Arrivant for Caribbean Studies

Bruce Paddington


Film and television are key signifiers of the Caribbean in the 20th century. A study of films and videos made in, or about, the Caribbean will help to define the Caribbean as an imagined space, and provide students with fuller perspectives on issues of regional and national identity, and cultural development. Research into the work of Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora film- and video-makers will help students and scholars to define a Caribbean aesthetic or, at least, sensibility. This article (a) provides an introduction to the early history of cinema in the Caribbean, analysing the image of the region as portrayed in Hollywood films; (b) looks at the definition of a Caribbean film; and (c) argues for a vibrant indigenous film industry. While Film and Media Studies have not yet been widely introduced into the education system in the Caribbean at the primary, secondary, or tertiary levels, either as individual courses or incorporated into the social studies, English, or creative arts curriculum, the article suggests ways in which students can be exposed to this new area of Caribbean Studies. The suggestion is that the work of such film-makers as Perry Henzel, Euzhan Palcy, and Tomas Guitierez Alea should be studied along with that of V.S. Naipaul, Dereck Walcott, and Edward Braithwaite.


Caribbean Studies; Cinema; Curriculum Development; Caribbean

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