And Great Showers of Tears Came Down
by Dalton Narine
In today’s volatile world, the uncertainty surrounding our business and personal lifestyles argues for action, not inaction.
Such is the theme of And Great Showers of Tears Came Down, an antiwar film about a hawkish Marine Vietnam veteran who becomes an avatar of peace - those opposed to sending military personnel into battle to resolve conflicts that flare up around the world on the whim of governments.
The short documentary, produced and directed by Dalton Narine, features the Marine’s compelling saga of death and trauma that segues into a devilish orchestration of events involving100 men in his battalion. A panoply of the producer/director’s action-oriented photographs of the war, muted by the beauty of bucolic scenes that radiate peace and the heaven-and-hell juxtaposition that go with it, are powerfully abetted by assistant producer roycrosse’s modern art imagery and his haunting steel pan soundtrack .
The film takes the audience into the squalor of a housing project where a boy’s parakeet has just died. He is only eight years old, and his prescience about picking wild flowers and inviting friends to a burial for the bird is nothing less than extraordinary. It foretells events that would seem to have been rinsed in the faith of both mother and son.
In the midst of his first year of college, he enlists in the Marines not only to help out his mom who is working two jobs to care for his four siblings but also to satisfy an urge to be a machine gunner simply because he fell in love with the weapon’s swagger as a youth growing up in a ghetto and taking in war movies at the cinema.
In Vietnam, he befriends a fellow machine gunner. They look alike and worship the same persuasion. Affectionately known as “the twins,” both see action in high doses for 11 months, becoming seasoned at their craft while saving the lives of Marines through their immense firepower.
In a fateful scenario that leads to an encounter in an enemy-controlled village, the Marine is short an assistant gunner and it is the lot of his friend to take up the slack and join a company of about 100 on a search and destroy mission. Other troops are held back on a bluff overlooking the village.
In an ensuing ambush of bizarre proportions, the company is wiped out and the loss of his buddy incites outright hostility in the Marine. He harangues the captain about dereliction of his duty for not calling in air strikes beforehand. As the tension builds, a chopper whisks the Marine back to the ship against the captain’s orders.
Only the chaplain can console the Marine, alone in a sea of empty bunks on an aircraft carrier.
A ferry operation takes two days to deliver the bodies to the ship. When they arrive his denouement keeps us transfixed.
Considering today's vaunted technology we've made remarkable advances, especially in the workplace. In a sense, we've abandoned the plow yet still rely on old tools to settle fundamental human activity. And even as we attempt to seek peace we get our guns out and put them on the table — an example of how the world at large measures insanity.
But viewers get to see up close the moral in the eyes of the Marine, a grievously wounded combatant who is the soul of And Great Showers of Tears Came Down.
Join the WST forum discussion
Dalton Narine watched a movie among friends and was harassed for watching the credits roll. He was 12. They laughed at his quip that someday his name would be scrolling like that on a movie screen somewhere. Little did they know it was a prescient warning.
A similar scene played when Narine stopped learning the piano and walked into a panyard. Nobody believed him until they saw him playing classical music on pan on J’Ouvert. Eventually Narine co-founded the iconic PAN magazine and became senior editor.
Narine, an award-winning writer for two newspapers and a magazine, started working on a novel. But the chair of Columbia University film school steered him toward a screenplay instead. Your story is a movie, the professor said. Today Narine is working on his final draft, with two more screenplays in his head.
contact Dalton Narine at: firstname.lastname@example.org