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A film about The Mas Man, by the Pan Man, Dalton Narine

The floor is opened for questions after the screening of “Mas Man”

New York, USA - A shrewd and rewarding move, it was, on the part of those who staked out seats in the Norman Johnson Lecture Hall at Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn for the initial New York screening of “Mas Man” -  an illuminating and unabashedly frank film about Artist and Carnival Designer Peter Minshall from Trinidad and Tobago.   This critically acclaimed production was now finally and officially on display in the Big Apple.

And a work of passion it is for pan man and pan historian Dalton Narine who began this, his own film odyssey centered on the mas man, Peter Minshall, as a labor of love some six years ago.  Coming from a place inside himself, where, as a pan man forged back in a time when playing pan ensured you a place as one of the ‘scourges’ of society, Narine understands all too well what it is to have artistry taken for granted.

Through an educational assignment years ago, Narine had been focused on poet John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  At the same time he learned that Paradise Lost was Peter Minshall’s subject for a Trinidad Carnival presentation for band leader Stephen Leung.  At first Narine was incredulous that an attempt would even be made to interpret, bring to life and depict - the visions illustrated in Milton’s poem, on such a stage.  He approached Minshall, and kept pace with and watched in wonder as the spectacle came to life.  The rest is history.  Milton’s poem Paradise Lost sprang into being under the mastery of Minshall, and won Band of the Year honors for Leung.  Narine has understood the genius of the legendary Mas Man ever since.


Film maker Dalton Narine (in cap) meets and greets attendees after screening

Minshall the Man has been celebrated both at home and internationally, only awe and wonder left in the wake of his larger-than-life presentations at no less than three Olympic ceremonies.  But even with years of such heralded works - a documentary placing the artist himself front and center, and focusing on him as the subject of the accolades - is oh, so timely.  Minshall - now the topic of the spoken word of peers and admirers - enthused over, described through ‘their eyes’ and understanding, some still learning themselves, as they seek words adequate enough to impart their interpretation of such a genius and his body of work.  In Mas Man the movie, teasing highlights of his creations are served up in ‘moving pictures’ to pay homage to his creative genius.

Journalist and editor Les Slater, Dalton Narine
and brother Elton Owusu (r)

Dalton Narine with attendee, who in turn is armed with two versions of “Mas Man”

The audience was rapt for the duration of the screening.  Only the occasional opening of the door by latecomers, followed at times by the muted sounds of already-seated gentlemen gallantly rising to their feet to ensure late-arriving ladies were accommodated, ever broke a ripple in the flow of the presentation.  The atmosphere was punctuated at times with knowing and agreeing murmurs which followed statements by those interviewed for the film.  Muted chuckling surfaced when one of the individuals who portrayed one of Minshall’s creations, described how essentially hapless he felt as he took the stage as an obvious ‘first-timer,’ propelled forth by the sheer mind-merge with the Minshall mas he ‘danced.’   And the audience too, felt his release as this individual revisited what he termed a ‘spiritual rite of passage.’

Film maker & pan man Dalton Narine


Film maker Dalton Narine, with Clyde Durant of New York’s
 Moods Pan Groove, and brother Elton Owusu (r)

Questions were answered by Dalton Narine in the period that followed, and patrons did not pass up the opportunity to get their own copies of the Mas Man DVD.  Several people were thrilled to chat with the film maker, some confessing that they had already viewed the film as many as five times.  And almost all seized the opportunity to leave with memorable snapshots of themselves with Narine on their personal cameras.

Additional Mas Man screenings are eventually expected throughout the USA, and also across the ocean in Europe.

More on Mas Man, the movie - MasManTheMovie.com

MAS MAN - A Dalton Narine Film in Review

Contact Dalton Narine - narine67@bellsouth.net

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