“Children of God”
Gay in the Bahamas
Christians believe that we are all God’s children and in the Bahamas fundamental Christians set up rallies to scare the gay population there. We meet Jonny (Johnny Ferro), a young white artist who is suicidal and he is worried that he could lose his scholarship at the university because his professors believe he has more talent than what he considers himself to have. He decides to leave Nassau and move to the island of Eleuthera where he will create his masterpiece and then take his own life. Then there is Lena Mackey (Margaret Laurena Kemp), a middle-aged anti-gay activist. She discovers that the man she married is not what she thought so she decides that she must work to limit the rights of gay people and she goes to Eleuthera so that she can organize opposition to the gays in the Bahamas. Lena and Jonny’s lives come into contact and Jonny gains the inspiration to paint as well as discovers new reasons to be alive.
Directed by Bahamian, Kareem Mortimer, we get to see a great deal of information about his homeland. He looks at identity and gay politics and he provides us with a valuable look at the Bahamas which seems to reflect the issues that exist everywhere.
When Jonny gets to Eleuthera, we see that he has met Romeo (Steven Tyrone Williams), who is black, and they embarked on a love affair but Romeo’s fiancée and his mother drop in Jonny unprepared. Lena also gets there and begins to build her ministry. The film is beautifully photographed and yet it still carries an important message. We see that amid the beauty of the islands that this is no Garden of Eden. Homophobia is rampant and rabid and endorsed by religion. We know that the Bahamas is one of the most homophobic countries in the world today. There have been murders and out and out oppression in the gay community there and because of this Mortimer wants to bring attention to the situation. This is the first Bahamian gay themed film and it exposes the hatred that exists there as well as the feelings of fear and dread.
This is also a daring film in the way that is shows an interracial couple in love in a place where this is not allowed. There is a sense of darkness that hovers over the film and the film does exactly what Mortimer wants it to do—it leaves the viewer with a feeling of discomfort. Even with that discomfort, this is a beautiful film that deals with very important issues and it shows us what a good independent film should be.