Sunday, March 01, 2009

Whose Gibraltar? A documentary film on the Llanito Gibraltarian perspective

A few days ago I posted about a Gibraltar Documentary Film project that Garrett Wesley Gibbons, of Brigham Young University in the USA, was in the process of putting together.

To my surprise... and I must say, a lot sooner than I ever expected, I heard from Garrett today, telling me that his film has now been posted!

Garrett has kindly posted his film with the proviso that you understand it is still 'a work in progress'. The film, as yet, has no music and is not fully 'titled'. I am, however, very pleased to share it with you all here... for you to enjoy and in the hope that you offer Garrett your comments and reviews on his draft, (my comments below).

Anyhow... here's the film... for your delight and delectation:

Well, I don't know about you, but I thought this is an excellent documentary... I really enjoyed it... lack of music or finished 'title's notwithstanding!

Gibraltar Film Documentary Reviewed.

On the whole, I think Garrett has done a great job so far. He has produced a very accurate perspective, from a Gibraltarian viewpoint, about the Llanito identity. With, what I understand were difficult time constraints, he has managed to describe the history and particularly the political aspects challenging Gibraltar today, relatively well, if perhaps not as broadly as I would have liked to see.

Personally, I would like to see some more comment, especially from the other political parties in Gibraltar.

As it stands... the only political view expressed, other than those of my friend Dennis Beiso's, the Gibraltar Government Archivist, (who, I must say, does a very good job in his summaries), are those of the GSLP/Liberals Opposition parties. This, I think, is not a broad enough perspective.

The politics of Gibraltar always raises great passions in many quarters... not least in Gibraltar itself, naturally, and many have an opinion of where we came from, where we are... and most importantly, where we are going. For this documentary to be fully comprehensive, I think it is important that it shows a broader inclusive view, from all sides.

It is important, in my humble view, that there is at least some comment by the incumbent GSD (Gibraltar Social Democrats) Government, particularly from Chief Minister Peter Caruana.

I asked whether the Government was given the opportunity to participate in the documentary. Garrett has answered this and a number of other questions here.

I would also like to see some comment from Keith Azopardi and the Progressive Democratic Party.

Of course, if one is going to (unrestrictedly) endeavour to have the broadest perspective, no commentary on the politics of Gibraltar can ever be complete, without the participation of the British or Spanish Governments' views on the age old question of sovereignty of Gibraltar. After all... it's the nub of the whole damn historic dispute right?

In fairness to Garrett, I think we need to bear in mind he has produced this film as a school project. It's not a 'BBC Panorama' type documentary... or intended to be a comprehensive history on Gibraltar. It's just his perspective... on the curiosity that is being a Gibraltarian Llanito. People need to judge this film in that context... as it does not propose to do anything else.

Be that as it may, and appreciating the producer's obvious time (and other possible) constraints... recognising that he couldn't fit it all in, I think the political perspective the documentary offers, is fair and broadly that held by most Gibraltarians. No doubt I shall soon be corrected by those who feel this is not so! :)

My Conclusion

I think this is a very well produced piece of work so far. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and I think most Gibraltarians (possibly with the exception of fanatical GSD supporters, who may hate the sight of 'the Walrus' and cannot abide the sound of 'the pipsqueak'), will also enjoy watching this documentary.

Gibraltarians just love watching ourselves. Sometimes I think we must have ALL been born under the starsign of Leo... "all Leos are trendsetters, leaders and adventurers. Their weakness is their pride. This is one sign where the saying 'flattery will get you everything' applies"!

But seriously... with the slight constructive criticism about broader perspectives notwithstanding, I doff my hat to Garrett... and thank him for his interest and for a very well researched and explained documentary about our homeland!

One final point I would like to make. The music, as ever, may well enhance or detract from the power of the film so care will need to be taken on the choice of music and how it is edited... but, on the other hand... what do I know of producing a film!? Not a lot! :)

Having said that... and finally... finally... on reviewing Garrett's very interesting documentary, having offered him my thoughts, I have also taken the opportunity to offer a couple of little suggestions, small amendments for him to consider making. These can be seen on the Gibraltar Documentary page posted by Garrett Wesley Gibbons on Vimeo.

You may have your own thoughts you might want to add? I know Garrett will be very grateful for your comments and feedback too!

You may also like to know there is a discussion on this film going on at Gibraltar News Online's Discussion Forum here: Gibraltar Film Documentary just published

If you missed the link in the review above, you may also enjoy further reading about this documentary and Garrett's explanation of the how and why he created this film: Gibraltar Film Documentary > Why?


Irma said...

I really enjoyed both the documentary and the subsequent review. As someone who has never visited Gibraltar, and has very little knowledge about its history or political challenges, this was a real eye-opener. I agree that it could be improved by the addition of some comments from the Spanish and would love to hear a response from the Spanish government as well as some of the locals. I found this video very informative, interesting and thought-provoking and would definitely watch it again.

Paul said...

Hi Ernest,

Viewing this from the UK as a non-Gibraltarian it would seem as though that Gibraltarians would like to retain the official British connection but want as little to do with mainstream UK life and politics as possible.. I can understand this. The UK has really gone to pot over at least the past ten years or so and the less it infects other people the better with all the civil liberties concerns and successive British governments have treated Gibraltar badly (as they have the British) while constantly giving into the whims of Spanish nationalists. Politics is, as you know, a closed shop here.

In these days of air travel you can fly from Manchester to Gib these days. I must visit again sometime. Though I suspect that will become less and less popular as people have no money.

Gibraltar has a few friends in Britain but as so many people have other things to think about it gets put on the bottom of the list.

How is the depression affecting Gib? I suspect it's not doing too good at the moment on the tourist side of things as less people are going to Spain for a break but how are the other aspects?

All the best


Cybernest said...

Hi Irma and Paul

Apologies for not replying to you earlier.... the last few days have been a little hectic. :)

In light of your comments here, you may find some in a discussion going on over at Gibraltar News Online's Discussion Forum here: Gibraltar Film Documentary just published

Saves me repeating myself! :) Thanks!


SomeOne said...

The video has a HUGE mistake. Gibraltar isn't a colony it is a British Overseas Territory with self-determination and self-government.

And if territories with this sort of political status are regarded as "colonies" then Gibraltar isn't the only one. Faroe Islands of Denmark have a similar political status.