Green Days By The River is a much beloved classic here in the Caribbean. The story is a bitter sweet one that follows the simple, but soon very complicated life of Shellie. Fifteen-year-old Shellie, or Shell as he is also referred to as, is taking care of his terminally sick father, while at the same time enjoying the advances of two girls he has come to be fond of.
Simple premise yes, but as most Caribbean tales have taught us, all is not as it seems at a first glance. The Barbadian premiere was held at The Limegrove Cinemas to quite a crowd of adoring fans of the novel and fellow Caribbean filmmakers alike. The sold out experience caught us by surprise for those who have never heard about the book but for fans, it was a longtime coming for the adaptation to make it onto the big screen.
I am glad to say the film stays very true to the original novel written by Michael Anthony all the way back in 1967. The scenes in the movie felt very authentic, and not at all staged on a superficial film set. Sudai Tafari who played Shellie in the film displayed fitting emotional turmoil and at other times youthful indulgences, that were needed to carry the overarching plotline throughout the piece.
In the novel, Shellie was always a boy whose heart was ever changing when it came to who he truly “loved”, Rosalie or Joan. Rosalie Gidharee was the more free spirited of the two girls; her love of parties and living in the moment, contrasted heavily with Joan, who displayed innocence and level headedness which she was proud of. The two girls were both what Shellie wanted, but sadly he had to make a choice.
It however would be more accurate to say the choice was made for him, because Shell was not ready for the intimidating and potent presence of Mr Gidharee. Anand Lawkaran, who played this character, had a notable presence on the screen. His character was colourful with his outward display of love for his daughter, his land, and of course, his Caribbean way of swearing in general conversation.
The cinematography was excellent; the shots and longer panning shots in the film at certain locations in the film added volumes to the West Indian feel of the film. More can even be said of the sound design in the movie, which often gave a haunting, yet thrilling feel whenever the characters’ emotional arcs were heightened.
All in all, the film, in my opinion, was a success. I fully look forward to see what is the next Caribbean classic to be given the big screen treatment.