Inna de Yard: a review by Nick Scott

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Nick Scott says “….I felt inspired to write about this film after I saw It.  It was that good.”  Inna de yard has screened as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) 2019

NZIFF Tauranga 2019 Inna de Yard screened at Rialto in the Goddard Centre. The NZIFF continues in Tauranga until Sunday 15th September 2019

Here’s Nick’s review of the Peter Webber directed film Inna de Yard: when I saw this movie in the film festival booklet, I was very interested, especially as it was compared to the famous Buena Vista Social Club, one of the best documentary movies of the late 90s.   That movie was directed by musician Ry Cooder.  Cooder went to Cuba and found some very old Afro-Cuban musicians and interviewed them while taking in the history of Cuba and filming some performances.

Inna de Yard was said to do the same thing with Reggae and the country of Jamaica.   One big difference is while Ry Cooder came with carefully laid plans and the intention of making a planned documentary, the makers of Inna de Yard just found a group of older Reggae musicians and followed them around.

There are performances but nothing that seems too organised and this gives the movie a nice organic feel, much like the feeling you get from Reggae music itself. We find ourselves learning the fascinating history of these men and I realised that they were a lot like most people I know. It’s just that these men have a unique way of showing their feelings, through their music.

There is also a careful selection of shots from the bush clad hills in Jamaica to close-ups of instruments being played. By the end of the film you know that Reggae is all about the words and the singing – not always using words. It is not as instrument focused as western music. And we also get to see what inspires the music – love, family and day-to-day life. We bear witness to the creation of “The Fisherman Song”, sung by the fisherman while doing his job.

The movie had one of the greatest openings for a documentary film, especially one that explores music.   An old man shuffles out onto his balcony and sits down at an old piano. He explains how the insects have wrecked the piano strings. He plays a few chords and after changing the piano strings, looks at the camera and says that he invited over his friends so they can play some music. The friends get there and we begin our look into the lives of these elderly Reggae musicians.

Nick Scott Nick Scott has a B.A from The University of Waikato where he studied film under Sam Edwards. Nick has retained a keen interest in cinema. He studied Te Reo Maori at Te Wananga O Aotearoa part-time for 3 years and then from 2014 to 2016 Nick collaborated in writing “The Traveller’s guide to Maori Place Names”.

 

And here’s the promo piece from the NZIFF webpage “…..Reggae legends including Cedric Myton, Kiddus I and Ken Boothe reminisce while jamming out their greatest hits in this vibrant celebration of Jamaica and its diverse cultural history. Sprinkled with festive scenes from a live performance in Paris, the documentary does for reggae, ska, rock steady and roots what Buena Vista Social Club did wholeheartedly for Afro-Cuban music.

“There are several lifetimes of music and memories shared between the subjects of Inna De Yard… The film, an appealing blend of accessibly toe-tapping music and likeable characters, creates an atmosphere almost as heady as the fug of smoke which… shrouds the heads of the dreadlocked old-timers who are invited to revisit their most iconic tracks…The project which anchors the picture is the recording of an album, ‘unplugged and acoustic style… capturing the music in its virgin state.’ Sprinkled [around]this is a dusting of Jamaican history and a fleeting but poignant commentary on the poverty and simmering violence which has marked the lives of most of the musicians in one way or another… For a warm, engaging love letter to the veteran talents who shaped a sound, the film has an infectious groove.” Wendy Ide, Screendaily

Watch ARTbop Reviews, Visual to see what next fills Nick Scott’s screen….

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