Of all classic stories none has been retold in more ways than Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The premise of a nice girl meeting a boy raised on the wrong side of the tracks has been applied to almost every culture, whether or not the creators have given direct credit to Shakespeare (indeed, many would argue that Shakespeare himself re-adapted earlier love stories into his play).
That Jamaica has its own Romeo and Juliet film is no surprise. What is worth noting is the way that the story has been used to send two powerful messages to the international movie-going audiences. One Love, made in 2003 and influenced in no small part by the music of legend Bob Marley, tells the story of a Rasta musician Kassa and Serena, a Christian girl, who meet at a music contest in Kingston. They fall for each other, but Serena’s father is not impressed with his daughter’s suitor. As a fiery pastor he has plans for her to marry within the church and the relationship puts a sharp strain on their relationship. Kassa meanwhile is fighting his own battles with his scheming record boss.
How does the story end? You’ll have to see it to find out, but a box of tissues is highly recommended. Perhaps what marks this movie out is its ability to make an international audience aware of the Christian and Rastafarian cultures in Jamaica, and the way it presents both groups in a sympathetic and intelligent manner.
Also playing a starring role in the movie is the Jamaican countryside. Filming took place mainly around Port Antonio and Stony Hill but with other parts of the island featuring too, the movie promoted a message that there is much more to Jamaica than just beautiful sandy beaches.
For those on vacation in Jamaica there are plenty of opportunities to explore the island’s rich culture and traditions. Tours to Kingston are available from the main Jamaican hotels and plenty of options are on offer for those interested in the enduring legacy of Bob Marley, including a visit to his home which is now a popular museum.
One Love did indeed use the Romeo and Juliet theme to share a little Jamaican culture with the watching world. Come to Jamaica and you’ll see just why this is something worth celebrating.
Come to Jamaica and feel alright. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the island’s rich culture and traditions, including a visit to Bob Marley’s home which is now a popular museum. Visit the IberoStar Hotel in Jamaica