A couple of weeks ago I advertised the viewing of the Bahamian movie ‘Children of God’ by the Bermuda Center for Justice. As I was on island I went and watched it, and stayed for some of the post-movie discussion.
I don’t want to ruin the plot for anyone who wants to see it, so I’ll try and keep my review of it ambiguous.
In general, the film was essentially a love story, with various sub-plots, all of which generally revolved around an exploration of issues of sexuality – principally homosexuality – in Bahamian society. It also touched on some aspects of race and class, but it was mostly centered on the challenges of being a homosexual in the Bahamas and some of the key political, cultural and religious issues raised as a result.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the film itself. While I thought it was a bit too full of various cliches of homosexuals and homosexuality, I don’t think that really was that big of a problem. I’m sure a more nuanced or complex story on the issue could equally be done (and perhaps will or should be done someday), the story itself was relatively powerful and easy to understand or even relate to. Perhaps this was because of the reliance on certain cliches, perhaps not. It doesn’t really matter I don’t think.
While I heard one or two complaints about the abilities of the actors, I thought they were fine.
What struck me, and perhaps most of the other viewers, was the broad similarities between the issues in the Bahamas and Bermuda on these issues. Due to the historically interlinked histories of our two islands I guess this really shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise, but it certainly did add to the impact this film would have in Bermuda.
There was a fairly good turn-out. I think the auditorium at BUEI can hold about 150 people, and I reckon it was between two thirds and three quarters full. Demographically, it did seem to be White dominated racially (about two thirds), and slightly more women than men were present (not by much though). There seemed to be a good mix of different ages present too.
I noticed at least four politicians or political candidates there, two from the OBA and two from the PLP. I don’t think I saw anyone still associated with what’s left of the UBP, but I could be mistaken.
I was a little disappointed with the post-movie discussion though. I would have liked a deeper discussion on the part of the guest panelists, although I did find the reflections of the movies director/producer as being particularly informative, especially his thoughts on the similarities and differences between the Bahamas and Bermuda on the issue of homosexuality.
The questions from the floor didn’t impress me too much though. It quickly descended into a theological discussion, although I couldn’t tell if that was an inherent tendency for discussions of the issue of sexual orientation within our culture or a result of one of the guest panelists, a surprisingly progressive (at least on this issue) Christian Pastor, serving as a catalyst for such theological discussions.
I did leave halfway through the discussion though, so maybe it improved after?
I think the most striking phenomena from what I saw though was the number of self-identified homosexual (or bisexual) Bermudian women and men speaking out publicly about their experiences, which I reckon bodes well for the maturation of the discourse on this issue for Bermuda.
I think that this film would be a useful (if controversial) film for review by our senior-school students to critique and discuss, and I certainly would recommend that more individuals seek it out to watch. I’ll investigate it’s accessibility for that purpose and post it here later.