Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution
As a piece of documentary film-making, Dr. Bruce Paddington’s heart-stoppingly compelling and viscerally visual record of the rise of the Maurice Bishop’s New Jewel Movement is a real triumph – perhaps not perfectly in line with everyone’s opinion or recollection, but certainly for the historical significance of capturing a story which tore apart the tiny island nation and deeply impacted the entire Caribbean region.
The film focuses on the 1979-83 period through the eyes and experiences of many of the key participants. From the bloodless coup through which Bishop and the NJM seized power from Eric Gairy and the Grenada United Labour Party, through the wonder years of a unique experiment in socialism to the dramatic implosion of the People’s Revolutionary Government, and the events surrounding the execution of Bishop who was then Prime Minister, along with cabinet members and civilians, concluding with the U.S. military invasion in October 1983.
Paddington sourced archival footage from Grenada, Cuba and the USA, filmed hours of interviews with ordinary Grenadians and those who experienced in one way or another the bliss and the horror associated with the revolution. His son Luke edited the project, and together they have created a film of such importance, that one viewer at the Saint Lucia premiere suggested that ‘Forward Ever’ be shown in every school on the island, so significant is its educational value.
Dr. Bruce Paddington agrees, but is also aware that in some ways his film raises more questions than answers; What was the root of the factionalising that emerged and led to the bloody implosion of the Revolution? Whose orders put Bishop under house arrest? Were the executions ordered and if so, by whom? Where are the bodies of Maurice Bishop and the others executed at Fort Rupert? Was political interference from Cuba the cause of the PNG disintegration and what part did the CIA play before, during and after the revolution?
One thing is abundantly clear: there is much more to the story of the Grenadian Revolution than can be contained within even a long format documentary film, but ‘Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution’ is Paddington’s personal contribution to telling that significant tale and documenting its historical impact on Grenada and the world.