[ATTN – MILD SPOILERS] Barbadian Movie on Teen Pregnancy as realistic as Sarah Palin’s Geography skills – HUSH!

Holy Hill Productions has attempted to tackle the issue of teen pregnancy in Barbados with a semi-realistic glimpse in the film, HUSH – which was released at Olympus Expo & VIP in late September and extended for part of the 1st half of October.

It dealt with an issue Sarah Palin avoided in her own family during recent elections in the USA, the matter of teen pregnancies and how parents react. Here’s what the makers of this picture felt –

HUSH‘ – the most recent Praise Academy Barbados production, is a film addressing the highly controversial issue of abortion. The main character Mikisha (Sophia Thomas) is a 15 year old Christian girl who is a youth leader in her church & very involved in church ministry. However, Troy (Andrew Thornhill) her boyfriend is not. When Mikisha discovers she’s pregnant and starts to think about the ridicule and shame she’ll face if she decides to keep her baby, she then considers abortion – her only viable option.

This summary like the picture is an oversimplification of a significant issue when new life can enter this planet, what are the results? It is all well and good to say that abortion is wrong, and quote parts of the Bible supporting that view – but if you consult the Talmud, which precedes the Bible and parts of it are acknowledged in the Old Testament, then you would learn that a foetus has the POTENTIAL to be a human and is not deemed as such until the child actually leaves the womb and draws breath!

The example used in this story depicts a girl who in all likelihood mistook sex for love and yet at the same time wanted to know what sex is all about… But there are other ways pregnancy can happen – what about incest? If a close relative molests her, must she keep the child even if she does not wish to as opposed to consent? Rape does not even need to be mixed with incest, it could be a robber who assaults a woman during theft, is the husband to accept what is growing in his wife’s tummy thereafter? Abortion is denied regardless?

If a child excels at academics and yet she ends up in the family way, is she to surrender her cerebral rewards and a chance at gaining better employment? Granted, in Nevis one can still have the child and maintain your education, but most places – including the US and Britain whose benchmarks we hope to emulate – expect a woman to give up all her other dreams and just be a baby-minder!

Also in the film, the church cast out Mikisha’s mother when she too was in Mikisha’s position, so why did she go back to the same church which turned its back on her at one of the chief moments she needed for solace? Another thing, all due respect to Claudette Waterman the actress, but according to HUSH, she was 16 when she had the protagonist of the tale- you telling me this woman is 31 based on the math shown in the film? This is in what, Bajan time? Because the mother seemed a bit more mature than that! Better casting should have been done!

In my view, both the violent mother (Who was allegedly oh so Christian, with her Gospel blaring as she drove through Strathclyde heading towards Brewster’s Road) and the uncaring and playboy-wannabe ex-BF Troy pushed Mikisha to contemplate the horror and use of a coat-hanger as a means of ending the pregnancy (In parts of Africa – they use a long wicked stick with a barbed hook at the end, yet if the woman becomes barren, she is exiled from the village – even her husband must shun her, like it or not), but here is what I find rather unrealistic?

The fact that Mikisha suddenly ups and forgives her mother, one of the two people who forced into an ugly corner – how real is that? Or was it because they reached near the end of the picture? In addition, why the movie’s title? What is the significance of that name – is it for what you’d tell a baby, or is it that not many people want to speak of this topic?

In terms of production values, HUSH was much better in some ways than more recent Bajan pictures, I am sure in no small way due to the technical expertise provided by Rivelino Simmons who also helped with the Kite Flyer.

The movie made sure to perfect the audio by using overdubs in particular locations – such as the Xtreme nightclub or at Tanya’s mother’s house, but they need to record ambient noise to blend back in so as to ensure it appeared as natural as possible. Overdub tracks are essential when you record at party scenes as dialogue can be lost in the hubbub, the trick is making it appear all part of the story.

The film had an acting coach, Patrick Foster – it was Andrew Thornhill as Troy who seemed to have absorbed the most knowledge from this talented Caribbean thespian who has perfected his craft well over an extended period. “Troy” as the selfish, uncaring, party-animal bastard who did not wish to acknowledge his own child was very convincing in his sneers and the way he used Mikisha and his own steady girlfriend.

I found the background music to be rather monotonous, but it was original and they had a limited budget – perhaps this is all they had time to record for HUSH.

HUSH is due out in DVD format this Christmas, but I suspect it may be released even earlier if certain folks get their hands on it. It’s worth a look, but do not adopt a knee-jerk reaction like the film which told a story with loaded dice – make sure you too research all options available, as it is the woman’s decision for the most part, if the father stays quiet or disavows the pregnancy.

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