‘She Paradise’ review: Dancer dreams in vibrant Trinidadian drama

‘She Paradise’ review: Dancer dreams in vibrant Trinidadian drama


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Based on her personal short movie, writer-director Maya Cozier helps make her element debut with the lively Trinidadian drama “She Paradise.” It is a raw movie in the cautionary tale it gives about an aspiring youthful soca dancer — to both equally its credit and its detriment.

Dance promises 17-yr-aged Sparkle (Onessa Nestor) a way out of her sheltered, impoverished daily life with her grandfather, Papa (Michael Cherrie). She sneaks out to audition to be a backup dancer with a troupe led by Diamond (Kimberly Crichton). When she at some point joins the team just after some wise maneuvering, Sparkle discovers that following her desire isn’t what she anticipated as she’s thrust into a daily life of partying and older males.

With Cozier’s former get the job done as a choreographer, “She Paradise” functions finest in its dance sequences, although the digicam angles are from time to time too tight to genuinely see the dancers’ movements. But when it is on whole screen, the dancers’ do the job is electrical. The soca model is undeniably hot as well as acrobatic, but the digital camera avoids the leer of the classic male gaze in capturing how the girls move their bodies to the rhythms. In its place, it just observes and celebrates without exploitation.

While the Trinidadian English dialogue is lively (specially in discussions amongst the dancers), the script from Cozier and co-author Melina Brown follows predictable beats as Sparkle activities the darkish aspect of fame. Together with actress Nestor, they’ve established a proficient, resilient younger lady on-screen. However, the story is thematically muddy at greatest and problematic at worst in the techniques it handles Sparkle’s newfound independence and the horrors she experiences. Despite these challenges, the arresting photographs of “She Paradise” and the unique voice of its director mark Cozier as a filmmaker to view.

‘She Paradise’

In Trinidadian English with English subtitles

Not rated

Working time: 1 hour, 11 minutes

Playing: Commences Nov. 19, Laemmle Glendale, Glendale also offered on VOD


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