Saturday 27th September, 2008

 

Wacky Mandy shows her ‘serious’ side

 
 
 
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By Jolanda Charles

The first outreach screening of the T&T Film Festival premiered on September 20, at the Vistabella Regional Complex, San Fernando with Mandy.

Directed by Roger Alexis, Mandy is one of six memorable and outrageously funny episodes of Herman’s Tales; a collection of adventure stories told by Herman the puppet and village star-boy focused on the quirky yet endearing characters in his village—a mysterious place in which the worlds of puppets and humans intertwine.

The 25-minute film which was locally produced in 2007 and airs exclusively on Gayelle The Channel, tells the story of Herman’s cousin, Mandy (also a puppet and “the prettiest girl in the village”) who is in love with Claudius, her human beau for the past three years—much to the chagrin of Jadoo, Mandy’s father, who doesn’t approve the courtship.

Mandy and Claudius’s deep passion for each other is expressed in an unabashedly silly Bollywood dance sequence —complete with lip-synching, male back-up dancers—after which Claudius proposes elopement to Mandy if her father doesn’t give his blessing following a final attempt on his part.

Determined, Claudius ventures to the Jadoo’s and asks for Mandy’s hand. He is refused by a furious Jadoo who informs Claudius (a farmer with five acres) that he couldn’t possibly provide sufficiently for Mandy and that she would fare better marrying a wealthy doctor or lawyer.

The quarrel erupts into a grossly exaggerated kung-fu fight scene which ends in Jadoo crumbling unconsciously to the ground. Mandy rushes to her father’s side, who upon his recovery, sends her away to Tantie Mildred’s house in the Northern Range.

The next day, a contrite Claudius returns to the Jadoo house to make amends but is told by the cunning and unforgiving Jadoo, that Mandy has eloped with a mysterious doctor. Distraught, Claudius drowns his sorrows in a bottle for the next few days until Herman (who has an uncanny way of showing up exactly when he is needed), insouciantly unveils the truth.

Claudius literally heads to the hills in search of his true love and encounters several unlikely yet familiar characters; including a persistent and impeccably dressed salesman and a couple of blood-thirsty cannibals while traversing though the bush.

The journey is perilous but Claudius persists, coming within inches of losing his life. Upon arriving at the spring bridge—the final obstacle between his death or his happiness—he meets Jadoo and saves the other man from the head-hunters’ spear.

A grateful Jadoo exclaims that “there’s more to you than meets the eye” and the men decide to put their differences aside, resulting in a cheesy, happy-ever-after ending as Mandy and Claudius reunite.

Brought to the T&T audience by ABF and Dorodigital products, Mandy—originally a lighthearted tale of love —surprisingly brings to light several of our society’s most profound ailments; our disdain for agriculture or the people who make an honest living off the land; and the prejudices that have become so much a part of our landscape that we commit them without a second thought.

 

See more of Herman’s Tales this week as the T&T Film Festival continues at MovieTowne.

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