“Transforming the understanding of history and humanity through the Arts” is my mission as an artist and for Farewell My Paradise. Although the other two films in the Another Building series were mostly dance films, this film will incorporate text and follow a more traditional film narrative. I decided that the history of this place (specifically the synagogue) is so rich and complex that I needed some narrative for an audience to understand some of the complexities of this community. My treatment is a traditional treatment. However, it does not reflect the elements of dance in the film. I am influenced by choreographer/directors Lloyd Newson (DV8) for the dance approach. My subject and place are different, my tone lighter, yet I aspire to combine dance, narrative, and text. Yet, text and character determine movement, not the other way around as in my other works and in the work of Lloyd Newson. I start with the narrative and not the other way around as in Another Building 1 and 2. In the script I will place the dance in more detail, but for the purpose of the treatment I focused on the story.
The story of the Jewish Creole community in Suriname is a complex one rooted in a long history in the country.
My heritage informs both my artistic expressions and my worldview. My art reflects the complexity that comes from being a member of a crossroads culture and the multi-cultural baggage that it entails. I look for ways to juxtapose the old and the new. I cherish the questions and the unexpected. I aim to give voice to an intense desire to create something new out of what is already perceived to be fact. I don’t try to recreate, but rather to ‘blend all the ingredients’ or influences, and make something new, something ‘Creole’ in its truest sense. As a member of a ‘crossroads’ culture, I am constantly negotiating the links between tradition and modernity, realism and the supernatural, colonial and post-colonial.
I recently discovered that my great grandfather was the illegitimate child of a Jewish man and his housekeeper. He as a half (Creole) Jew married a Jewish woman with the last name Levi. The need to tell the story of the Surinamese Jewish community through a fact-based fictional film gives the passion I have for this place even more weight.