Why Guava Island is so important, Donald Glover's brilliance, and a surge in representation. - Movie Talk 🎟
The comedy-thriller Directed by Hiro Murai “Guava Island” stars Glover, Rihanna, Nonso Anozie, and Letitia Wright. On Guava Island, a local musician played by Glover is determined to throw a festival for everyone to enjoy. Shot entirely in Cuba, Guava Island is not quite a musical, not quite a visual album, but maybe somewhere in between. Murai and Glover take us on a vivid journey as we experience a day with ‘Deni Maroon’ a young BLACK man who’s ENTIRE mission in this film is to bring some joy to his fellow islanders for one day.
We’ve taken a few extra days to process this film, and we’ve heard some criticisms of it that quite frankly we think are trash. First of all, the film opens up with a beautiful animation piece that sums up all of the films backstory in a charming and humorous way, by the time the film opems up we know exactly what is going on, which is great considering the film is only 55 minutes long. Once we get into live action shots, the first thing we noticed was how visually STUNNING this film is. Christian Sprenger, the director of photography, captures the essence of the island and all of its inhabitants. From the colors of the buildings, to the water and sand on the beach, even the way Glover’s bright floral shirt contrast his medium brown skin, this film was shot beautifully. We HAVE to highlight this point because it is not easy capturing the skin tones of people of color, specifically darker tones, and Guava Island knocks it out of the park.
The plot is surprisingly, but refreshingly easy to follow and simplistic with underlying themes of the dangers of capitalism, poverty inequality, the wealth gap, black diaspora, black on black violence, relationships, black children growing up without fathers (whom are prematurely taken from them). We’ve read articles about how the overall message of the film lacks nuance, however, we feel Glover made his message extremely accessible and comfortable to digest for an audience who is just looking to be entertained. Glover and Murai are giving creatives and film makers the blue print on how to give an audience a good, enjoyable experience that also reinforces a message that doesn’t turn the audience away. A film doesn’t need 2 hours to tell you how much capitalism sucks, and Guava Island proves this.
The film is extremely Black. The protagonists, antagonist, and everyone in between, literally all Black, and outside of the main cast, every actor was an actual native. We actually didn’t realize this until our second viewing, but this is incredible for obvious reasons. Glover continues to make strides for representation without making it seem like a gimmick. Not to throw shade on Black Panther, we love that film but walking into BP, you KNOW you’re experiencing a Black production. Guava is.. different. We didn’t feel the need to make it a big deal, we just felt like we saw a film about people on and island facing their hardships. We can’t get upset over the lack of diversity in projects like Game of Thrones and NOT support films like Guava Island! Glover is completely normalizing all Black productions and this is apart of his genius we have to acknowledge.
This film is important. It deserves to be considered a modern day classic. Is it going to win film of the year? No. But a Black man created a beautiful, all Black production with dope, relevant themes. Watch it because you’re a Childish Gambino fan. Watch it for the visuals. Watch it for underlying messages. Hell, watch it for Rihanna. Whatever your reason, Guava Island deserves your attention.
"I’m really humbled having the opportunity to present something this timely and timeless. Between Rihanna and the people of Cuba, this is one of my favorite projects I’ve ever worked on," Glover said