Edgar Palm in Otrabanda

May 23, 2023 10:39 am

"Edgar Palm in Otrabanda" is a poignantly ethereal, yet richly grounded tapestry of music, memory, and place. Harrie Verstappen, a seasoned hand at straddling both the auditory and visual, orchestrates an elegy to Otrabanda, a once pulsating musicians' quarter of Willemstad, Curaçao.

Much like Alain Resnais' exploration of time in "Last Year at Marienbad", Verstappen's narrative revolves around the father-son duo navigating the labyrinth of a bygone era, interlaced with vibrant performances, reminiscent of Scorsese's "The Last Waltz". As the protagonists traverse the fading alleys, one can't help but recall the melancholy of Fellini's "Roma".

Verstappen's use of Super-8 and 35mm slides, harking back to the cinema verité movement, enhances the sense of nostalgia, while the Papiamento narration adds a deeply authentic layer to this narrative. His depiction of Otrabanda is as poignant as Wong Kar-wai's depiction of Hong Kong in "In the Mood for Love", both drenched in hues of longing and loss.

Yet, the film is far from a dirge. It's a celebration of Edgar Palm's music and legacy, his rhythm echoing the heartbeats of Otrabanda. The film is a visual symphony, evoking the spirit of Godard's "Band of Outsiders", and like Truffaut's "Day for Night", it's a tribute to the indomitable spirit of art and artists.

"Edgar Palm in Otrabanda" is an unforgettable expedition into the heart of culture, music, and memory, beautifully encapsulating a narrative of time and place that's as universal as it is uniquely Curaçaoan.