Maya Cozier’s debut release, the final project of her film degree at New York’s School of Visual Arts, begins with a lingering shot of a beautiful tiny blue house in Belmont.
Widower Bartholomew (played by Trinidad Theatre Workshop veteran Albert Laveau) sits inside, quietly and stoically grieving the death of his beloved wife. Flies buzz, dogs bark, a lotto draw is advertised on TV.
While it’s peaceful inside, it’s also lonely, and that aching void drives Bartholomew to leave the house each day and wander around Port of Spain just to be close to other people.
Tenderly shot scenes of the Lady Young lookout and Charlotte Street murmur on screen, filmed from a moving vehicle – the old man’s vintage Japanese car. As it sputters through the monotonous downtown traffic, a young woman, Shanice (Jeanine Lee Kim) mistakes it for a taxi, hops in and brazenly procures a ride to Chaguaramas.
The two generations of Trinis share their tales of love and infidelity – the national pastime.
Bartholomew reminds Shanice of her grandfather. And, no doubt, half the audience of theirs. Two schoolboys beg a short drop to Belmont and get a cuff from their mother for their tardiness when they reach home.
A transgender woman Hot Pepper (Kyle Richardson) enters the “taxi”, not short on confidence, and with a fondness for “one-a-day” selfies. Bartholomew, who took “one-off” wedding pictures back in the day, doesn’t quite understand the exclusionary nature of the digital age.
At just 28 minutes in length, Short Drop touches on Trinidad’s issues of the day – gangs, drugs, corruption, homophobia – without untangling them, and shows us how people from different worlds rub up against each other in the bustling capital of this small island.
It hints at nostalgia for the memories of a golden age and shows that solitude exists even in the tightly-packed streets of the city’s oldest neighbourhood.
Short drop will be screened at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival at 6 pm at MovieTowne San Fernando Screen 4.