At first, you wait on the lead (and film’s title) character Kinto to speak, then you accept that he will not and neither will most of the characters in the short film which was screened at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, University of the West Indies, Mona, on Tuesday night.
The events in the day of a 14-year-old who has chosen to take to the streets rather than stay in state care from he was seven years old (not that this is said outright in Kinto; director Joshua Paul gave a brief insight into the back story in the post-screening interaction) are told almost entirely without dialogue, and it is testament to the power of the production that meanings are transmitted clearly.
This is up to Kinto walking away from his windscreen-washing equipment along the Palisadoes Road, obviously giving up the street life. While that is a poignant closing shot if not necessarily happily ever after, then certainly better than things were previously, there is an overhead shot of Kinto approaching a garbage bin after being robbed of money, meal and any shred of dignity by a group of much older and bigger thugs. There is a morbid tug of war in the heart one side says ‘don’ dweet yute’ and the other says ‘mi waan see dis’. You do and it is nauseating, literally to the actor. But, as a movie moment, grossly beautiful.
Not having people talking a lot does not mean that there is no sound in Kinto, not with the traffic sounds as the lead actor plies his wiping trade in places like Half-Way Tree Road. Then there is the heavy rain, a crying baby who Kinto cradles, while a helpless motorist (who had neglected to pay him earlier in the day as he was not feeling well while fumbling for money) and even a package rustling as Kinto finally finds food in the baby’s bag (who knows what kind of milk he slurped from the kid’s bottle?).
From its beginning with the lead actor, Sekai Smart-Macaulay, braced against a lightpost and looking longingly at a parent (or guardian) and child to the walk-away closing shot, Kinto manages to make connections among relationships and effectively tell a tale of self-redemption and yearning for love without many words.