Black Trinidadian poet and writer Wayne Brown uses words to bring his daughter into being. With a certainty like the knowledge of the next rising tide, Wayne declares to his English wife, Megan, who has had many miscarriages and has no hope left, that, soon they will move to England and once there, she will get pregnant, and give birth to a healthy, light-skinned baby girl. Mariel is born out of words. However in spite of the mystical origin of their connection, as life unfolds, Mariel’s love and adoration for her father become tinged by resentment and mistrust. Until it’s too late for words. Any words.
The magic incantations that brought Mariel to life, soon start to feel like a trap; as though the person she was meant to become was not to be of her own deciding. When Mariel chooses a creative career, she begins shaking the foundations of her father’s pedestal – questioning him: why in over 30 years, has he not finished a single major book?
In her 30s, Mariel starts seeing things differently and on Christmas day she writes to her father to forgive him for his many cruel words. A week later, he calls her to say he has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. By the next Christmas, Wayne is dead. Were the hurtful words exchanged an ominous spell?
After her father’s death, Mariel has an emotional breakdown, with acute anxiety – too many words could be heard, like a stream of consciousness. She can’t find the courage to read her father’s writing, and the sea, that watery ribbon by which she had always been tied to him, brings her no comfort. Years later, a dream wakes Mariel at dawn. She is sailing with her father, no land in sight, and she’s stung by a bee. She laughs. And so does her father. They are the first laughs between them in many years. Mariel goes sailing for the first time, thereby squarely confronting her sense of loss and moving on in the very waters and with the very words that brought them together. In carefully unraveling the threads of her father’s life, she discovers that his art transcends death and allows her to hear his voice again.
Writer, Director: Mariel Brown
Co-writer: Fernanda Rossi
Directors of Photography: Sean Edghill and Nadia Huggins
Original Music: Francesco Emmanuel
Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts
Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
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