Coconut/Cane & Cutlass

Writer/Director/Producer: Michelle Mohabeer
Canada/Guyana, (1994) 16mm/30 min. Experimental Docu-Narrative, Colour
Distributors: CFMDC (Toronto/Canada)/Women Make Movies (New York/USA)

*Winner of three International Awards

Coconut/Cane & Cutlass is a fluid rumination on the psyche, collective memory, history and imagination of Indo-Caribbean cultural identity. This poetic rumination on exile and displacement is mediated from the perspective of the filmmaker, a mixed race Indo-Caribbean lesbian who migrated to Canada over thirty years ago.

Intersections of the autobiographical voice; in the realm of mythic/memory and the personal, co-mingle with the historical, to produce a film that is neither an "official historical document" nor simply a "personal history." Instead, Coconut/Cane & Cutlass is a hybrid fusion of the autobiographical, historical and imaginary communicated through an episodic structure that is richly textured and layered with optically printed imagery, front-screen projection, re-created archival images, oral narratives/histories, a spirit dance, and stylized dramatic tableaux. The poetic, fragmented style and structure of the film echoes the filmmaker/exile‚s internal struggle to "reconstitute" her identity in relation to her history and ancestry.



  • 6th Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival, Brazil, 1995
  • 9th London International Lesbian/Gay Film Festival, England, 1995
  • 10th Turino International Film Festival., Italy, 1995 *Award
  • 32nd Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1994 *Award
  • 9th Calcutta International Film Festival, India, 1994
  • 6th Dhaka Film Festival, Bangladesh, 19991
  • Delhi Gay Film Festival, India, 1999
  • 11th Caracas Latin American/Caribbean Film Festival, Venezuela *Award
  • 18th San Francisco International Lesbian/Gay Film Festival 1994
  • Women In The Director's Chair, Chicago, 1994
  • 1995 International Society For Cinema Studies Conference, New York
  • Los Angeles International Film Festival, 1994
  • 5th "CINQJour du Cinema," Montreal Premiere- Cinema Parallel,
  • Minneapolis 5th International Film Festival
  • 7th Images Film Festival *Toronto premiere April 1994
  • 7th Northwest Festival, Washington
  • The New Festival, New York 1994
  • Body & Soul Showcase: Toronto: John Spotton Theater
  • Independent Film Festival/ *Amsterdam International Film Festival (Holland)/
  • Lesbian/Gay Film Festivals in Barcelona, Dallas, L.A., Milan, Montreal, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Vancouver, and Washington