Words by Marcha M. Johnson—
As with other Caribbean islands, Trinidad’s history is a rich with diversity in population and traditions. Whatever the occasion, chances are there is a community in Trinidad that recognizes it and makes a spectacle of its observation. Nonetheless, to the disdain of many village elders, there has been rampant cultural erasure as communities struggle to preserve the history and heritage that has given birth to Trinidad’s international reputation and identity as a tourist destination.
One community which has taken an active stance against this cultural dilution is Paramin. Nestled deep within the Northern Range, this community comprising of primarily French Creole descendants is the focus of Janine Fung‘s Paramin- The Odyssey of Hope. The short film, part one of a broader work-in-progress, features candid interviews with village members who have selflessly dedicated themselves to the revitalization and preservation of traditions such as Jab Jab and Parang, providing insight into the history behind them and their cultural significance. It also offers vivid and arresting imagery reflecting island life in its most authentic form, a reality often ignored in favor of more commercially viable images. Fung’s half-hour documentary illuminates not only dying aspects of Trinidadian culture but celebrates the individuals who have recognized it’s worth and invested their energy towards guaranteeing its survival.
Watch Paramin- The Odyssey of Hope below: