The five stories are each helmed by a different director and each one depicts one pivotal moment in the history of the Panama Canal and show how it creates a divide between worlds, makes currents that ripple throughout the globe, and ultimately bridges cultures as it endures through time. The first sequence, directed by Carolina Borrero and entitled “1913,” tells of the canal’s construction as Clarice (Lakisha May) and her lover Philip (Andre Morris) lay the foundation of the canal under harsh conditions. The film shows the final year in the construction of the canal—an engineering triumph in one of the few shots of the film that reveals the canal in all its grandeur—but American control brings colonial power, and Clarice and Philip know little sense of freedom. This first chapter brings a wedding, but it’s not a happy one, as Clarice suffers and subsequent generations feel her pain.
Rating: ★★★½ (out of ★★★★★)
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