Hero - Inspired by the Extraordinary Life & Times of Mr. Ulric Cross

Drama

132
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 1120

Synopsis


Downloaded times
January 12, 2021

Cast

Eric Kofi-Abrefa as Switcher
Joseph Marcell as C.L.R James
Peter Williams as Bobby Logan
Pippa Nixon as Crowd Actor
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1021.51 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
N/A
P/S N/A / N/A
1.85 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
N/A
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by annemariestewart-02271 10 / 10 / 10

Child of Independence review by Selwyn Cudjoe

Several years ago Glenda Morean, Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner in London, invited me to attend an intimate luncheon with Ulric Cross and four other people. It was the first time I met Cross, this distinguished man. Although I knew Cross's reputation as a combat bomber navigator during World War II, my most indelible image of him was that of an ageless being playing a good game of tennis in his eighties. Imagine my delight when Trinidad+Tobago film festival/18 introduced me to a more comprehensive picture of his life through the beautifully crafted film, "Hero," which premiered at NAPA on Tuesday last. I had no understanding of this man's amazing gifts, tremendous achievements, and the pride he took in being a Trinidadian and eventually his blackness. Born in Belmont in 1917, Cross possessed a passion for reading which enabled him to win a college exhibition to attend St. Mary's College when he was eleven years old. When his mother died (he was thirteen years of age), he was taken in by a neighbor "who gave shelter to children and that possibly saved his life." Although Cross did not win an Island Scholarship, the advent of World War II opened up a way for him to travel to the motherland. He says, "The war was my ticket to England." In 1941 he joined the Royal Air Force (Bomber Command Navigation) where he became a squadron leader. When he left the Air Force in 1947, he studied law, a profession that intrigued him. In 1949 he was called to the Bar (Middle Temple in London). Not entirely satisfied with life in London, he returned to Trinidad where he became a lecturer in trade union history and trade union law. Trinidad could not hold him. In 1953 he returned to London where he worked for the BBC as a producer of various programs. This assignment came to an abrupt end in 1957 when he tackled subjects that inconvenienced the BBC. This confrontation was captured beautifully in the film when he interviewed CLR James about George Padmore and his anti-imperialist work on one of his shows. Fed up with racism in Britain, Cross left London for Ghana in 1958 to join other prominent West Indians who were participating in that country's development. Cross developed a close friendship with Kwame Nkrumah, the prime minister, which led to his being assigned to many sensitive, high-level legal positions in West Cameroon and Tanzania. In Ghana he worked assiduously to implement Nkrumah's dream of forming an African government. In 1971 Cross returned to Trinidad where he occupied several distinguished positions in the local judiciary. He ended his career as judge of the Court of Appeal (1979-1982) and chairman of the Law Reform Commission (1982-83). It took the deep intellectual gifts of Frances Anne Solomon, the granddaughter of Patrick Solomon, one of the earliest nationalist leaders, to research Cross's story, and make this gripping film. Frances confesses that she enjoyed an early privileged life (her grandfather was second in command to Dr. Eric Williams in those early pre-independence years) until, she was shocked into a new awareness of her Blackness while she was a reporter for the BBC in London. It was that newly gained vision (or perhaps the trauma of racism's incipient sting) that led her to examine a life that spoke to a much larger vision of who she/we are. It is no secret that Trinidadians have had an enormous fascination with Africa, the fatherland, from the early 19th century. Visionaries such as J. J. Thomas, Michel Maxwell Phillip, Sylvester Williams, and Philip Douglin spared no expense to explore their spiritual and academic connections with things African. Part of Solomon's intellectual journey, via the telling of Cross's compelling story, consisted in following an intuitive compulsion that both acknowledged hers and our African origins. It also speaks to a Trini's boldfacedness to participate in the liberation of oppressed peoples all over the world, especially from those regions where we came from. In the 1920s Eugene Chen (Eugene Bernard Acham), a Trini of Chinese descent became the foreign minister in the government of Sun Yat-Sen (the founding father of the Republic of China). Like Cross he also attended St Mary's and went on to serve with distinction in his fatherland. Phillip Huang called him "China's most important diplomat of the 1920s." Padmore, Solomon's guiding star, also fled these shores, traveled to Russia, via New York and London, to become a member of the highest level of govermnent there. He also changed his name from Malcolm Nurse to George Padmore. When the Communist International de-emphasized the importance of the struggle of black people, he left the party and wrote his famous book Pan Africanism or Communism. After that, he devoted his life to the liberation of black people. Solomon integrated Cross's story seamlessly into the African struggle for liberation of which we are a part. In doing so, she filled a lacuna that has remained an open wound in our political and social landscape. This was the most touching part of the film to me. We must congratulate this child of independence on the 56th anniversary of our nation's birth for the boldness of her vision, the scrupulous integrity of her enterprise, and the uncompromising rendition of this important part of our story.

Reviewed by annemariestewart-02271 10 / 10 / 10

Hero Review by Christopher Pinhiero

'Nothing, nothing is strange, in the life of a man bound for change.' (Leroy Calliste / Black Stalin Calypso Monarch of Trinidad and Tobago) 'Hero' as a film is much more than a mere biopic. Its central story-line follows the career of Trini icon: Ulric Cross, over the course of a lifetime spent in the public domain. By the telling of his extraordinary tale, are the tales told of many and sundry others: people, places and countries. There is one scene in which Cross is in close quarters with two other Trini notables... author CLR James (played by Joseph Marcell) and activist George Padmore (played by Fraser James). Just an example of the distinguished company he kept. This epic triptych of revolutionists will spend the rest of their lives in the tedious but inescapable task of dismantling the monolithic edifices of colonialism, each in his own way. The Toronto audience, September 5, 2018, at the premier of 'Hero' were privileged to be first to view the real-life drama. It is the first film in over a decade from auteur Frances-Anne Solomon who has been deeply absorbed with the businesses of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution. (Dare we say Domination?) And the CaribbeanTales Film Festival which is up and running now in its thirteenth year. Juggling several vintages of footage... black and white and colour, both period and filmed in present time, using stop-action photographs as punctuation, giving a family-album quality... Solomon achieves a patina-ed narrative, patchwork quilting vignettes that go from Belmont, Trinidad, to Britain then Ghana, Cameroon and Tanzania... the territories crisscrossed by Justice Ulric himself. From the Royal Air Force to the British Broadcasting Corporation to the newly formed nation-states of the aforementioned African countries... 'Justice was the rod and the staff that he wielded'. The docu-drama never once ventures into the dangerous territory of polemic, which would have been too easy. Instead, big picture issues like racism, classism, Eurocentricity, espionage, treachery, poisoning and assassination are ventilated through the lived experience of the characters in this high-stakes drama. Starting with the ninety-five-year-old Cross, frail of body but powerful of voice, the doc slips back and forth in time as Ulric's stream of consciousness flows from childhood in the colony to higher education in the 'Mother-Country', to WW2 wartime service in the RAF as Navigator. 'Service' along with 'Justice' were to be the bookends of his life and work. Legislative reform and the Rule of Law were his way in the world. In the title role, Nickolai Salcedo channels our 'Hero' with gravitas and equanimity, pretty much carrying the movie on his back. The timbre of his voice-over is the beating heart of the narration, grounding the air-borne exploits of our high-flyer. Here is a wide screen movie star of whose cheekbones the camera is enamoured. Having acquitted himself admirably in a number of supporting-actor parts, Salcedo slips into the patent leather shoes of this "Hero" with ease and finesse. Peter Williams, Jamaica born actor and star of 'A Winter Tale' by Frances-Anne Solomon, plays the friend 'still working for Her Majesty's Government'. Valerie Buhagiar (also of 'A Winter Tale' fame) is the deadly MI6 operative, the CIA of the UK. Ulric's real-life wife (now in her nineties) is engaging and chipper on camera. The Ann Cross Hospital that she founded when in Cameroon out of her training as nurse is still functioning. Scenes of courtship, separation, marriage and domestic situations humanize other aspects of the public Ulric. The young Ann is portrayed with great sensitivity by Pippa Nixon. All the performances are powerful, the actors well invested in the whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Many of them are well-known in Africa. John Welsman's music underscores multiple moods and scenarios, and the bluesy 'rhapsoes' of the Freetown Collective are most heartwarming. For African Heritage Month, February 2019, screenings at branches of the Toronto Public Library can be looked forward to for general audiences. After playing as a flagship feature in the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, later in September 2018, 'Hero' will take to the road on Festival circuits and in theatres... Africa, Europe, UK, USA. Frances-Anne has worked for both the BBC and Bravo Canada, so small-screen distribution could follow. Hopefully this 'Hero' will inspire the telling of many more inspirational tales of valor from the diaspora of the Caribbean Basin and the Americas. 'We must remember to tell the stories that we are told, that happened, that we hear from others, and how we come to think about things in the way that we do. We can then understand more about ourselves and hold on to our place in the world'. (The character 'Tourist Annie', from the play 'Red House fire! fire!' by Trini Tony Hall).

Reviewed by karenking1960 10 / 10 / 10

This film is brilliant

For years I have been talking about undertainment, which is the low level of engagement with which most diverse peoples consume their entertainment. I witnessed it for the first time watching an in-flight film with a director and watching him get lit up because the story was so relevant to him. I was jealous. I had never had that experience with a film - until I saw Hero. I had no idea what to expect. My mother bought my husband and I tickets for my birthday. All three of us went together. When we walked out of there we were walking on air. First of all the story was about a Trinidadian man. To see a man from the land of our birth portrayed as a hero was a completely new experience for me who came to Canada at the age of 5. But by the time the film was finished both my mother and I were reverberating. At the age of 12, I had flown to Tanzania to visit my father for three weeks. He had been working in Dar es Salaam for three years as the Queens Counsel. He had been brought in to try the people accused of treason against Nyerere's government. That much I knew. What I didn't know was the larger context. I didn't know that he had flown across the globe to fulfill the dream of the United States of Africa. How frickin' awesome is that? My father was prepared to put his life on the line to fight for African independence. This film gave me a sense of my history, my heritage and it gave me a father I never knew I had. Then I understood his work defending the coup plotters in Trinidad, an infamous trial that he won. He had the heart of a rebel and he was willing to put his money where his mouth is. He must have been an Amazon Warrior as well. When I left the theatre I went to find my mom and she was gushing all over Frances Ann, and I had to join in. As a filmmaker myself, i said words to her that night that I don't think I have said before or since. Brilliant. This film is Brilliant. My personal connection to it notwithstanding. It is the culmination of a career as a television exec, filmmaker, distributor, and theatre director lthat is poetic, powerful gripping and such a gift. I will be forever grateful. Thanks Frances-Anne Solomon

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