A WINTER TALE (Frances-Anne Solomon) Rating: NN
A Winter Tale is a Parkdale drama about a black community caught in the crossfire of street violence. As part of an anti-violence project called Talk It Out, screenings of the film are routinely followed by a discussion with cast members that engages Canada’s youth in a dialogue on violence.
In the film, six regular patrons of a local roti shop are torn apart by a shooting that kills a 10-year-old boy. Gene (Peter Williams) organizes a support group to discuss the pains of being black in Toronto.
The film identifies many of the personal and local issues that frustrate such communication and community-building, like parents who won’t face the truth about their kids, and the young boys like DX (Michael Miller) who peddle drugs while living off their egos and delusions of control.
DX talks loud but says nothing, while Gene stubbornly keeps listening. The film is at its best and most honest when it sensitively engages with such roadblocks within the community.
Unfortunately, it abandons the pursuit of honest communication and instead opts for the easier and more sensational route to a resolution. A Winter Tale quickly becomes a whodunit that uses ’hood violence as cheap entertainment. While this design may attract a larger audience, the original message ends up buried in the snow, making that discussion afterwards very necessary.
The CaribbeanTales program also features the short film Dwayne Morgan: The Man Behind The Mic (screening with A Winter Tale), which is part of the Literature Alive series that runs throughout the festival.
This brief encounter with the dub poet and concert organizer is a straightforward behind-the-scenes promotional video about the man, his shows and his books. Why audiences should flock to this and not to Morgan’s actual shows is beyond me.
Innis Town Hall, Friday (July 11), part of Fokus Jamaica: CaribbeanTales Film Festival.