Trinidad and Tobago: How a film about Carnival captures the struggles and triumphs of LGBT Trinidadians

With bittersweetness, I watched Play the Devil lay out familiar panels of my birth island’s social, cultural and physical landscape.

Director Maria Govan’s nuanced 90-minute narrative provides a glimpse of Trinidad’s class inequalities and easy interethnic relationships that have created a society of various combinations and colours that remain close to my heart.

The film is also an homage to the ubiquitous grandmothers and aunties who stand in for parents who, for any number of reasons, are absent or long gone from the lives of their children. I also recognized the still-pervasive, church-bound religiosity that is stifling yet clung to for courage, comfort and hope, co-existing with the beauty of the country’s mountain and seascapes that have a visceral, spiritual power of their own to soothe, cleanse and renew.

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by Maria Govan produced by Play The Devil Pictures Limited with Petrice Jones, Gareth Jenkins, Akil Nicholas, Penelope Spencer, Nickolai Salcedo

A young man torn between reality and opportunity Gregory, a gifted working-class teenager from Paramin, stars in a theater play that brings him to the attention of James, an affluent businessman.