CTFF '19: Fig Lady (Machann Fig La)
By Nina Kalirai
Fig Lady is a feature length film that was released in 2018, and produced in Haiti, directed by Amiral Gaspard & Ricardo Tranquillin. Over the course of 93 minutes, we see the fig lady herself, Tinamiz (Berline Charles), do her best to protect and provide for her seven-year-old daughter Andrine, with minimal help from her husband and Andrine’s father André (Josaphat Beauvais).
The film starts out by making the audience aware that there is a problem that has plagued the countryside, where Tinamiz and her daughter Andrine stay. Rape has become an issue and Tinamiz fears for her and her daughter’s safety without having a man there to protect them. Her husband André moved to the city to pursue his artistic dreams at his own museum which he felt would financially help Andrine more, but we later find out those weren’t the only dreams he was pursuing.
Fig Lady (Machann Fig La) Trailer
Tinamiz finds out André has not paid Andrine’s school fees, and she only has a certain amount of time to pay them before they kick Andrine out of school. Tinamiz then goes to visit André in the city, even though he has told her not to come there before. After speaking with André about Andrine’s school fees, André confides in his close friend saying that he believes Tinamiz isn’t a good enough woman for him and that he could do better.
However, Tinamiz has an admirer of her own. The persistent street vendor, who she calls the “minutes man”, who is always at a loss for words by her beauty yet ends up being the one going to great lengths to save her after André’s antics land her in jail. While on this journey to save Tinamiz, he comes across a stranger (Jimmy Jean Louis), who explains to him that love should not be troublesome, after he himself almost gets arrested and commits a crime to get Tinamiz released from prison.
Tinamiz is eventually released and catches André doing what he claimed was helping her and Andrine while he was in the city, which leads him begging for her forgiveness, but it is seemingly too late.
While watching Fig Lady, I felt as though I was watching a romantic comedy. Tinamiz’s best friend in the film, serves as your typical crazy but funny friend, while the “minutes man” serves as your typical blinded by love admirer. The two add an hysterical complex to the film, while Tinamiz’s reactions to both of them further adds to that complex.
The sound design in the film could have been utilized a bit better, as most of it was only present during more serious parts of the movie, and some comedic parts, while other parts that could have been enhanced by it were simply left in an awkward silence. However, the editing for the film was done quite well, with cuts and frames complimenting certain scenes to elaborate the emotion drawn out of the audience for those particular scenes.
Overall, Fig Lady starts out appearing as though it will be a quite serious film, but is sure to provide laughs for audience members, enticed by the actors. I would recommend seeing Fig Lady if you are in the mood for a light hearted, romantic comedy, yet different from Western romantic comedies.
*Editor’s note: This film was originally screened at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival 19’.