Thoughts On: The Terror And The Time - Poetry & Politics


The Terror And The Time - Poetry & Politics

Quick Thoughts: The Terror And The Time (1979)

Made by Rupert Roonaraine, this is the Guyanese film of the series.

The Terror and The Time is a documentary that attempts to combine history, politics and poetry. This effort is made to simultaneously humanise and recount the history of colonised British Guyana. With an avant-garde aesthetic, driven by a focus on rhythm, speed and symbols, this seems to take inspiration from both Letterist and Soviet Montage films.

The successes of the film, in my opinion, are in the montage sequences - some of which are either beautifully shot and/or edited using archival footage. The downfalls of The Terror and The Time are in its poetic elements and their confrontation with politics and history. In essence, it is simply difficult to understand what they poetry is attempting to emote, what the political commentary is trying to say and what history is being recounted, all at once. Torn between empathetic, logical and empirical understanding/learning, it is all too easy to see things pulse by rather meaninglessly. It is hard to say how successful the documentary is considering the fact that it seemingly assumes you are familiar with the history, poetry and politics. For an audience who are going into this rather blind, it will probably be a blurry mess. I'm not sure how someone more familiar with all the subject matter would react.

In the end, there are glimpses of brilliance in this film, but far too much of it went over my head or simply screamed by. Without having made an impact on me, I can't say this worked too well. However, I encourage you to give this a go yourself:

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