Mas Man An Exploration into the Carnival Art of Peter Minshall

56 min - Trinidad and Tobago Dalton Narine, Benedict Joseph

Peter Minshall awakens topics about modern humanity that not only display a curious slant in art but also inform audiences that are privileged to discern his work, whether in the annual Carnival in Trinidad or at appearances around the world. The film celebrates Minshall's three decades in the Mas (not to be confused with masquerade, for Mas hews more to the inventiveness of mobile street theater than simply dressing up). And it feasts on an anthology of provocative themes, largely about evil and good - the incompleteness of man, his spirituality and environment. Minshall populates such presentations with 3,000 or so players who are willing to pay to perform as they transport his satirical outlook on life through the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad's capital city, to the beat of soca rhythms and East Indian tassa drums. By mingling traditional craft with novel ideas and exhibiting his themes as upper crust art during the two-day pre-Lenten festival, Minshall eventually lands a global platform for his theatrics. It is the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympic Games in Barcelona and he's named as one of the artistic directors. Four years later, Minshall reprises his role in Atlanta, and again at the winter Games in Salt Lake City, for which he earned an Emmy. Art has its share of uncredited heroes, and Mas Man assesses the heft of a Trinidadian artist's refreshing point of view about the perils of man and the environment.