garifuna in peril

GARIFUNA IN PERIL, written, produced and directed by Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes, is a film that chronicles the history of a people.  It explores the culture, language, and history, surrounding an indigenous group of people called the Garifuna.  Who are the Garifuna?

The Garifuna are descendants of Carib, Arawak, and West African people. The British colonizers referred to the Garifunas as Black Caribs.  At first the Garifunas called the island of St.Vincent home, but disease, horrific treatment by their captors and the trip across the seas, claimed the lives of many of the Garifuna people.  Today, an estimated 600,000 Garifuna populate a number of areas; Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua. 

It was a day like any other day, when the Indians piled onto a boat.  They were filled with hope. They traveled from their homeland to new lands. What luck! They had hit the jackpot. They found lush and fertile land, which they inhabited for approximately 1,400 years.  For 1,400 years the Indians inhabited the mountainous and fertile islands of the Caribbean.  They had sailed the seas and finally settled in the Greater Antilles. Both the Arawak and Carib Indians migrated from South America. The Arawaks were a peaceful people, while the Caribs were rebellious and aggressive. As a result of the differences in temperaments, the Caribs easily overcame and conquered the Arawaks.   Soon, the colonizers arrived bearing gifts and diseases. Life as the Indians knew it changed.

Eventually, the ships transporting slaves from the African continent arrived. Intermarriage occurred between the slaves and the local Carib-Arawaks.  The Garifuna people were born.

The film, GARIFUNA IN PERIL, has the tone of a reality show.  So, I kept asking myself: Is this a reality show? A good reality show.

garifuna in peril-2

GARIFUNA IN PERIL, follows Garifuna teacher, Ricardo, who is diligently trying to teach the dying Garifuna language, and culture to old and young alike. The elder Garifuna people, residing in Honduras, speak the Garifuna language.  However, the young people are less familiar with the language and the culture. The question posed by the youth: “Why do I have to speak the language?” “How will it help me in today’s world?”

Will this Garifuna man succeed in his noble mission to preserve a language and culture?

garifuna in peril-1

Ricardo is also working with his brother to raise funds to build a school for his people in his hometown.   Unfortunately, the project hits a roadblock, due to his brother’s greed and selfishness.  Soon, Ricardo finds himself face to face with the local council members; his brother is accused of selling the Garifuna land to developers.

The filmmakers, Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes, use a technique which gives the movie a realistic feel. It is effectively paced, and skillfully examines the differences in ideologies of the older versus the younger Garifuna generation. The film transitions from the historical tale relayed on stage by young people to present day occurrences, and draws parallels: tourism vs. the locals or indigenous people in Honduras; communal land vs. individually owned land; drab buildings vs. plush landscapes and oceanic views. Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes effectively weave a tapestry that transcends the tale and deals with land ownership, economics, and numerous issues that are relevant to us today.

A must see…

garifuna in peril-poster

Written, Produced and Directed by
Alí Allié and Ruben Reyes

Year of Production: 2012
Countries of Production: USA/Honduras
Running Time: 99 minutes
Languages: 55% Garífuna, 30% English, 15% Spanish
Subtitled in: English (Spanish subtitled version available)
Additional Writing: William Flores
Associate Producers: Dudley Augustine, Ben Flores, Jorge Garifuna
Actors: Ruben Reyes, Julian Castillo, Gloria Garnett, Jessica Alvarez, E.J. Mejia, Jr., Luis Martinez, Aubrey Wakeling, Arleny Escobar
Cinematographer: Alí Allié
Editors: Alí Allié, Ruben Reyes, Milton Guity, Katherine Cumpa, Marya Murphy
Music: Emilio Nuñez & Labaña Maraza, Aziatic, Punta Cartel, Ala Suazo, Rene Crisanto y La Runi Hati, Bodoma, Isabel Flores, Garifuna Records, Bootsy Rankin, Julito Timbalito, Bill Cayetano, Georgette Lambey, Glen Garcia, Nuru, Luisito Martinez, Yanyman, Ruben Reyes

Share ...

Subscribe for Blog Updates

Sign up for our latest updates.

Please follow us to get updates online.