One Hand Don’t Clap. 1988. USA. Directed by Kavery Dutta Kaul. With Lord Kitchener, Calypso Rose. Digital restoration by the Academy Film Archive and the Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television with the support of the Leon Levy Foundation; courtesy of Riverfilms. 92 min.
Kavery Dutta Kaul’s engaging documentary traces the history of calypso and soca music from their birth in the African-East Indian traditions of Trinidad and Tobago through its worldwide diaspora, including its popularization in the 1950s by Harry Belafonte and the new independent distribution networks that arose to serve the expatriate community in the 1980s. Kaul’s principal informants are Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), a charismatic performer who found stardom in the UK of the 1950s, and the formidable Calypso Rose (Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis), who overcame prejudice against female performers to emerge as an international star in the 1960s and a Queens-based activist, entrepreneur, and touring sensation in the 1980s. Kitchener passed in 2000 but Rose, at 82, continues to perform and record.
This digital restoration from the Academy Film Archive and the Women's Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film and Television renews the vivid colors and dynamic sound track of the original 16mm elements.