Friday, March 27, 2020

Lloydie: The Boy from St. Thomas

Life / Weapon

To address Lloydie: The Boy from St. Thomas at last: a 2019 7-minute short essay-film by Keifer Nyron Taylor that the director tells us captures the last days of his grandfather, Lloydie Plummer, exploring his violent upbringing in Jamaica, his close friends and the damage done to the family he built after migrating to the UK. The film can be watched free of charge here.

Taylor suggests that to describe all about Lloydie would involve invoking the distances between still snapshots of the family around Lloydie, who seems to exert a gravitational pull among those close to him, friends or spouse-partner, toward embrace, or the fate of the battered-faced. Used, user, abuser. An intertitle quotes a passage written by Lloydie during his time served at HM Prison Liverpool: "[My father's wife] told a lie and my dad beat me. I never went back. I saw him for the last time in Kingston before I left JA for UK in 1959. He is dead now."

Lloydie inhabits front-rooms. Who filmed him here, in the present, on this black-and-white 8mm (?) stock? The familiar glow of the resigned: those individuals who by some befalling hole up in a cave of their making, lamps off, telly on, striking out around 2 or 3 for some chore in the world. Through the film-stock, the drop-away to soundtrack silence, and the inert melancholy of the scenes themselves Taylor conveys to us that we're witnessing an end-of-days, perhaps illness encroaching by way of 'self-illusion'...

Lloydie inhabits front-rooms, and seems to have always been this way.

Along for the ride, Lloydie, passenger in his own vehicle, merges with those automobiles twisting through the passages of the motorway, Tarkovsky's Solaris inchoate.

Then the gathering for a funeral; a floral arrangement lining the rear windows of a hearse to spell "GRANDAD." An open casket, members of Lloydie's family and community filing by to pay their respects before, in one cut, he's resurrected on film nodding off from the perch of his settee as though to lend a ritual haze and to acknowledge, or gaze-down, in turn the attendant mourners.

Life swells wild with expectations, and grows tiresome.


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