Weaving a moving tale of homosexual love set against a chilling Christian rallying cry to limit gay rights, this captivating work is as lush as its sun-kissed Caribbean shores, even if the ending is all but telegraphed in advance.
Only before then, we witness the story of Jonny Roberts; an uninspired, introverted, if germ obsessed compulsive disorder art student whose fading talent signals the potential loss of his University scholarship. Forced to seek artistic inspiration on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, he comes into contact with former classmate Romeo Fernander; a man more at ease in the company of men, than in the arms of his girlfriend. Only she’s not the only woman unaware of her partners’ sexual preferences, as equally to be found arriving on the island is Lena Mackey; an outspoken anti-gay activist fighting "a sin against God" that her pastor styled husband is all but too knowledgeable of. Three individuals whose paths are destined to cross. But will their encounters be of the bittersweet variety?
Developed from his acclaimed 2007 work Float, here writer and director Kareem J Mortimer has expanded his short film into an engrossing feature that poignantly contrasts religious intolerance with the open arms of sexual acceptance. Thankfully in a narrative that has a lot to say, a series of fine performances are to be found, with Stephen Tyrone Williams of Crush / Don’t Ask credit giving a wonderful portrayal of a man torn between family duty and his homosexual heart. Yet it is his sexual openness, at least to himself, that plays against Johnny Ferro’s soulful rendering of a man out to the world with the scars to prove it, only to be ill at ease with his true self, depressed by nature, if not on the verge of suicide. Laced between their telling scenes however lie the verbal exchanges between scene stealer Margaret Laurena Kemp as Lena Mackey and local preacher Clyde Ritchie; a man who makes her question her very beliefs.
At a time when the Caribbean islands are not known for works of a homosexual nature, Kareem J Mortimer has delivered a heartfelt, if downright emotional plea for sexual acceptance and for that he has to be applauded. True some may have wished for greater intimacy between the boys, but by showcasing the polar opposites of prejudice / tolerance, Mortimer has crafted a powerful feature that in belying its limited budget, boldly illustrates a part of the world that clearly is still coming to terms with the beauty of the sexual diversity of life. It’s also a heartrending love story.
screened as part of the 24th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2010
starring: Johnny Ferro / Jonny Roberts, Stephen Tyrone Williams / Romeo Fernander,
Margaret Laurena Kemp / Lena Mackey, Mark Richard Ford / Ralph Mackey, Van Brown / Reverend Ritchie,
Leslie Vanderpool / Rhoda Ritchie, William Craig Pinder/ Mike Roberts, Sabrina Lightbourn /
Mike Robert's Friend, Jason Hanna / Purple, Christine Wilson / Anna Ross
and Conrad Knowles as Mojo.