by Dalton Narine
Night of Carnival Screening:
Thursday, March 17th | 6:30 p.m. | George Washington House
Trinidad & Tobago | 2009 | Documentary | 60 mins | English | PG | Web Site
Art has its share of uncredited heroes and this film assesses the heft of a Trinidadian artist’s refreshing point of view of the perils of man’s incompleteness. Mingling traditional Carnival elements with novel ideas, Peter Minshall goes head to head with upper crust art.
Mas Man is about a designer’s hubris to author a new word in art: “Mas ” (which overrides masquerade), to counteract the conformity and conservatism of Carnival in the 1970s. It’s about Peter Minshall reinventing Mas as a cutting-edge tool to enlighten spectators about the complexities of life – a bold move that, in due course, influences the Olympic Games to feature him as an artistic director in Barcelona, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
There are so many textures to Peter Minshall’s Carnival art. They all tie into a storyline that essentially captures his muse, flair for costumery, as well as the enigma of a man whose main job seems to open confrontation between good and evil against the backdrop of the celebrations. His calling, as such, isn’t so much about being playful in the Mas as much as it is to awaken themes about modern humanity that not only display a curious artistic slant but also inform audiences that are privileged to discern his work.
Mas Man examines Minshall’s life and art, a tapestry woven from multiple threads that include his “Mas-ography” coursing through 26 years; his design and stage acumen (documented in the 2006 presentation The Sacred Heart); his Olympic Games contribution; the Carnival stage (the Mas) in Trinidad preparing him for the world stage (the Olympics); and, his set pieces of political protest and entertainment, provoking parallel emotions in major North American, European and Asian cities.
About the Filmmaker
Dalton Narine is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. He has focused on Trinidadian art and cultural traditions in the 14 documentaries he has produced, directed and written in a span of 25 years. The collection of festival films and made-for-television programs include: Masquerade, Streets of Colour, The Minshall Trilogy, Danse Trinidad, Mas Fever, Soca Nation, King Carnival and Panorama, and Festival of the Pans. A pair of Best Documentary Caribbean Media Awards and a special prize by the Columbus International Film Festival for The Minshall Trilogy are among highlights of Narine’s career.
As a print journalist, he wrote for the Village Voice (New York) and was a features editor at The Miami Herald; an editor at Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel; and, associate editor, Ebony magazine. Narine has been a features contributor to both the Trinidad Guardian and Daily Express for more than 30 years.