BC Pires reviews The Trouble With Plastic

BC Pires ‘Film pick of the day’, November 2nd, 2106: The Trouble With Plastic.

The trouble with The Trouble with Plastic is the trouble with all the Green Screen Film Festival “Films for a Better Place”: it should have been longer. The guidelines of the Films for a Better Place project stipulate that the films must be between five and 15 minutes in length –a wholly reasonable and understandable limitation; still, viewers are likely to find themselves wishing that every film could have gone on a bit longer; and, with Maya Cross-Lovelace’s film coming in at under nine minutes, they might well feel there was indeed time to spare.

Nevertheless, Cross-Lovelace tells her story sharply and clearly. The opening statement, thrown up onscreen in a single, shocking sentence, has the viewer sitting up from almost the first frame: 2 MILLION plastic bottles are manufactured in Trinidad & Tobago every day. That, as Cross-Lovelace underlines, is 720 million bottles a year.

Who knew Trinis sucked down so many Cokes? Or sidestepped so easily so intractable an issue?

Cross-Lovelace’s short film goes a long way to explaining the problem facing the country – and a good way towards its solution. If the message were taken on board, you would see far more people protesting the lack of recycling than a doubles price rise.

Cross-Lovelace opts for a positive approach to a hugely negative equation, and one with the environment on the severely losing end. She talks to both sides of the concern, not just the environmentalists, and gets a lot out of both; spokesperson Derek Winford, e.g., admits that the Massy Group, proprietors of Trinidad’s leading supermarket chain, is part of the problem it is trying to solve. She also, sensibly, to my eye, refrains from including truly shocking video which would distract from the less spectacular but more urgent argument. This is a subversive film playing a polite masquerade, and is very watchable and very troubling, like the best Trini mas.