A film that needs to be seen is director Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes is a compelling story of a culture on the edge with GARIFUNA IN PERIL.
This film tells the story of Ricardo (Ruben Reyes), a man who is living in Los Angeles with his family. Teaching the language of the Garifuna to keep it alive, Ricardo is working with his brother Miguel (Julian Castillo) to build a school on Honduras.
But it becomes clear very quickly that Miguel is being forced out of the land of the Garifuna by a resort who wants to expand. Ricardo knows he must go to find out what has gone wrong but how? Daughter Helena (Yessica Alvarez) has a new boyfriend that wife Becky (Gloria Garnett) doesn’t like and son Elijah (E.J. Mejia, Jr.) seems to be missing the point of his cultural roots.
Ricardo does what he must to return to his village and set it right with his people and reclaim what belongs to his culture.
FINAL WORD: Reyes as family man Ricardo has the demeanor I’d expect of a family man trying to do the right thing by his Los Angeles family and the village he left behind. Keeping the history of his people alive is so important and teaching the language is this man’s way of playing his part. When he realizes his village is hurt, he does what a good man would do and plays the part perfectly.
Mejia as Elijah portrays his character as many teens are today. The idea that culture and history isn’t important because everything is “now”. Even being left out of his own language doesn’t seem to affect him until it does.
Alvarez as Helena is such an incredibly young lady knowing where she is going and how to get there. It was a pleasant surprise to see her being so responsible about her own personal beliefs with her boyfriend. Garnett as mother and wife Becky sees her traditions fading away yet tries not to lose ties with her kids.
Castillo as Miguel is left behind in Honduras to lose himself. If he had retained his own self-value things could have been different. Castillo plays the role very well.
The film also educates viewers of the Garifuna and the mix of West Africa and Carib-Arawak Indian in the 17th century and the struggle against the British to retain their identity. I don’t want to say more because I enjoyed the story unfolding in the film.
Other cast include: Etsil Arnold as Jimmy, Luisito Martinez as Gabriel, Arleny Escobar as Vera, Aubrey Wakeling as Richard, Bill Florez as Hillbuck and Araceli Nunez as Yanisi. The cast consists of actors from Honduras, Belize, the United States, and United Kingdom.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give GARIFUNA IN PERIL three tubs of popcorn out of five. This film leans more toward telling the story of an indigenous people rather than spiffy camera work. This was filmed in Los Angeles and Triunfo de la Cruz in Honduras with lends credibility to the story and the impact.
This is a good cast working toward one goal – reaching those who don’t know and educating through a mixture of story telling and performance.
In the end – they fight for survival, they always have, they always will!
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