The 2010 film 'Better Mus Come' directed by Storm Saulter has created quite a buzz since its release. It has won several awards including Best Film at Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2011 and Audience Award at Bermuda International Film Festival 2011 among others. Storm has been praised for his impressive cinematography, telling a familiar tale in a riveting display of action that keeps its audience at the edge of their seats.
'Better Mus Come' is a story about a young man Ricky (Sheldon Shepherd) living in an inner city community in 1970s Jamaica, a time rife with political turmoil and violence. Throughout the film we witness his trials in both love and warfare a direct consequence of being caught within the cauldron of tribalism. Saulter captures an authentic depiction of a time in Jamaica's history straddled with political strife in an honest and creative art form.
Did he anticipate such a favorable response? Saulter expressed to Jamaicansmusic.com "I'm definitely humbled by the experience but at the same time I knew when we were shooting this film and I could see it when it was being edited- I knew it was an important film, I knew that it was special and unique. It really didn't look like something I've ever seen before so I'm just really happy that people are discovering it and giving it its chance." In fact, the film has been getting more than just 'a chance'; so far it has been won an award in just about every film festival it has been entered in since 2010.
However with all the international accolades also come the critics. Over the years Jamaican film makers have seemingly been quick to highlight images that oppose those seen in beautiful ads inviting tourists to 'paradise'. Rather 'shottas' in the ghettos facing 'third world' crisis usually through violent manifestation are typically the spectacles on display. Although Better Mus Come undeniably features such motifs, in his defense Saulter commented, "By me shining a light on something negative in this beautiful place it is highlighting it in some way and the nature of film is to be seen, so yes I guess some people will technically feel like I'm showing a bad side of Jamaica. By not showing something it doesn't mean that it's going away and what I'm not doing is glamorizing it and if you haven't seen the film especially you will probably think it's a glamorization of violence and it is not a glamorization of violence, its an indictment against using violence to control society."
He further added that his film sought to portray the cause and effect of violence in an effort to enlighten his audience saying, "I am shining a light on a negative element in our society but I'm hoping that by shining this light it can- even if its just waking up people's consciousness and people's conscience."
The director reminded us that art imitates life, just as much as life imitates art which is why a film of this nature is so important as a tool for awareness and perhaps even change somewhere down the line.
To date Better Mus Come is still in high demand and has yet to hit dvd shelves as the director is still making rounds at the different international film festivals. He explained "What we are trying to do is get the film the recognition it deserves because if we went to video too early it would have flown under the radar of critical acclaimed and people would have said 'yes it's a great film you should see it', but we are proving it's a great film and we're trying to set up the right distribution structure where it can be done properly." There is hope however that by the end of 2012 or there about, everything will be in place for distribution to begin.
"This film has to reach to the people and I feel the people will really appreciate it by the time it gets to them," said Saulter. For lucky Londers the wait wont be for too long. Better Mus Come will make its UK debut at the British Film Institute Southbank theatre on September 1st as a part of New Caribbean Cinema's "Jamaica We Love You" weekend! Following the premiere there will be a cocktail reception and also a question and answer segment for those with burning inquiries about the film.
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