Caroni is a peculiar little film from Ian Harnarine. The film makes heavy use of metaphor, featuring a scarlet ibis multiple times throughout the film. This is a bird that flies miles away to feed but always returns to its nest at the end of the day. The bird is an obvious stand-in for the mother in the film, who works as a nanny in New York, leaving her young daughter behind to be cared for by her grandmother.
Harnarine makes clear that this arrangement has strained the relationship between mother and daughter. And yet, it is something that the mother must do in order to provide for her family. Their video calls are filled with snappy dialogue and discord. The daughter is not quite old enough to understand why mommy can’t stay home or why she can’t spend more time with her, and she’s clearly frustrated that her mom “doesn’t know what I like”.
It is a familiar story, but one told with astounding expertise in Caroni. The conclusion of the film is particularly sweet and poignant; and feels wholly earned in the best way.