Cinema and the Caribbean

Although the Lumiere operators traveled to the Caribbean in their journeys with the cinematograph at the turn of the century, only in recent decades has the relationship of cinema to the people of the Caribbean begun to be fully explored and developed.

Until the 1970s and 1980s, the Caribbean region was primarily a receiver and consumer of foreign cinema. Prior to that time, (and even still now, though to a lesser degree) Caribbean cinema was dominated primarily by exports from the United States and, of course, Hollywood.

During the seventies and eighties, the Caribbean was also ripe with political tension and the spirit of social tranformation. Increasing political consciousness throughout the region provoked radical, militant activism.

Inspired by the economic, political, and cultural climate of the time, the initial efforts of Caribbean filmmakers working within the tradition of Third Cinema emerged during this historical period.

Given these recent beginnings, Caribbean cinema is still young and growing. The absence of formal channels for regional networking has limited the ability of Caribbean filmmakers to exchange ideas and share resources effectively. Nevertheless, much has been accomplished already.

Beyond the region, Caribbean cinema has been evolving through international efforts emerging from the Caribbean diaspora of Britain, France, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States. Local efforts concentrated in Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Curacao, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago have been spreading throughout the region.

Caribbean cinema is continuing to build a strong repuation as it gains attention and recognition through exposure in international and regional festivals, and also in local venues throughout the various islands.

In the tradition of Third Cinema, Caribbean cinema is developing with depth and complexity, bringing needed insight into dynamic treatments of profound social issues.

Check out work produced by young women in St. Lucia: