Thursday, March 24, 2016

B&W Bananas

While filming we learned that St. Lucian violence can be traced to its history as a colony of plantation systems. In order to illustrate this aspect of Caribbean history, we're looking into archive video footage to supplement our doc. I've had luck with the Prelinger Archives, the Kino Library, and Travel Film Archive thus far. What makes the search process difficult is the lack of tags attached to some videos, which renders them impossible to find without looking through droves and droves. What makes it cool is how eccentric and obscure the found footage involved can be.

One of my favorites is this video, "About Bananas," which is a silent black&white film about, well, bananas. See here:

Banana export was St. Lucia's largest source of income until recently, when shifts away from St. Lucia in the international trade put local banana growers out of work. Instead of being able to make a living on their land with their family, many Lucians now have to commute to work at the island's many tourist resorts, resulting in time away from home, money spent on transportation, children being left unsupervised, etc. This is one example of a riff that history has torn through St. Lucia and something we're going to work very carefully--with the help of archive footage--to visually explain.

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