Topic: Films on Haïti
You wrote on December 20, 2009 at 3:05pm
Can you help me build a great collection of films about Haiti? I am talking about documentary and educational films, including also works of fiction that are grounded in Haitian culture. I am not interested in the sexy and romantic variety that is the common fare in Haitian DVD stores. I am not saying that there aren't some good films among them... perhaps. I have enjoyed a couple, but I am only interested in collecting films of a serious nature that may help educate people about Haiti/ans and our History, Geography, Literature, Languages, our various institutions, and the sum of what makes our culture so rich and different.
Could you please suggest a few that you have seen or that you may have in your own collection?
You wrote on December 20, 2009 at 3:08pm
I'll start with those that I own, hoping to be able to collect many more:
Liste de mes Films sur Haïti
1. 40 Ans Après...Roussan Camille by Mario Delatour
2. Anita by Rassoul Labuchin
3. Fanm De Zile by Fundacion Cultural MJC
4. Haiti Face à son Histoire by Antoine Léonard-Maestrati
5. Haiti Hidden Treasures by Patrick Dorsainvil
6. Haïti, mon Rêve, mon Amour (I) by Claude Saint-Rome
7. Haïti, mon Rêve, mon Amour (II) by Claude Saint-Rome
8. L’Homme sur les Quais by Raoul Peck
9. Mayestwo Issa by Frantz Voltaire
10. Rezistans by Katharine Kean
11. Showdown in Haiti by Frontline – PBS
12. The Price of Sugar by Bill Haney
13. Un certain Bord de Mer by Mario Delatour
Pipo Phil wrote on December 20, 2009 at 6:00pm
- Sonson (??)
- Des hommes et des Dieux (Anne Lescot +Laurence Magloire)
- Dreamers (Jorgen Leth)
Interesting too in its way:
- Ghosts of Cité Soleil, (Asger Leth)
You wrote on December 20, 2009 at 6:26pm
What is "Sonson" ?
Pipo Phil wrote on December 20, 2009 at 6:38pm
A simple, technically "poor" movie telling an authentic Haitian countryside story, happening in Jacmel surroundings: Soneon is a modest peasant having one goat; he gives the goat s.o. to keep it and unfortunately, the goat is stolen... Goes to complain to the Chèf Sèksyon... who is eating the goat with friends and other VSN...
For me, this shows that problems often pointed out in Haitian cinema are not, at least not primarily technical and financial ones: "Sonson" is a great movie made with almost nothing...
Teq Minsky wrote on December 20, 2009 at 7:43pm
- Haitian Corner
and by the way, just saw Peck's latest, Maloch Tropical
You wrote on December 21, 2009 at 4:27am
Teq, who's the director of Haitian Corner and what kind of movie is it? Also, what did you think of Maloch Tropical (though the emphasis here should be on movies that can be purchased now * for a private collection *).
Teq Minsky wrote on December 21, 2009 at 7:07am
Raoul Peck is the director of both. Haitian Corner is a film that --takes place in Brooklyn and is about someone discovering and then seeking out their torturer from Fort Dimanche.
The film was in Creole.
It predates the widely acclaimed (with Ben Kingsley as torturer) Death and the Maiden, (in some Latin American country a victim confronts her (Sigourney Weaver) torturer.
When I told the writer of the latter play, then film, about Haitian Corner, he said: I know Raoul Peck, I don't know about this film.
No, he hadn't followed the filmography of Peck and didn't know about that film made decades before the crossover Lumumba and later, Sometimes in April.
“Haitian Corner” NEVER got its due probably because it was Creole. (And, no stars!)
Peck's films are not purchasable now, or I am unaware of it. A few years back, he said, he was going to issue a boxed set of his DVD's
-don't know if he did.
Malock Tropical with wonderful production values, and views in and out of the Citadel (as a palace), is a not so thinly disguised fictionalized story of a leader, taking lots of mental health drugs, trying to maintain control of an increasingly disgruntled populace, who is trying to organize a bicentennial event (people keep cancelling and his staff keep wanting white people to come-(they don't)-while his staff keeps trying to finnese the U.S. to "keep" him, they don't and he is forced to sign a resignation and leave the country. Sound somewhat familiar. There is even more than one scene where a journalist who "speaks the truth" gets tortured, eventually killed (he works for Radio Radio). Jimmy Jean-Louis plays the tortured journalist, quite well.
The reaction to this film by some of the viewers was DUMBFOUNDED that a story of this on-going recent historical figure is so thinly disguised.
(I liked the film.)
Dennis Ricardo Hidalgo (Virginia Tech) wrote on December 21, 2009 at 5:30pm
What about these ones? The first is my favorite.
- Aristide and the Endless Revolution
- Divine Horsemen
- Laviche A Crisis For The Poor In Haiti
- Ghosts of Cite Soleil
Teq Minsky wrote on December 21, 2009 at 5:35pm
Chercher La Vie (women working hard to create a life in PAP)
You wrote on December 21, 2009 at 6:15pm
Thanks, Dennis. I am familiar with the movies you listed except "Lavichè". I owned a copy of The Agronomist, but apparently it walked out one me without telling me where it was going. If at all possible, let's augment the list with the name of the director(s) associated with each movie and possibly some distribution information where available, in case someone wants to order them.
To everyone: Hopefully we'll have many more answers and I will compile a list of all entries. The emphasis, once more, is on movies that can be purchased (or exchanged) and not on building an anthology of Haitian films (that's done elsewhere, I believe, and I had at one time presented an extensive list on WindowsOnHaiti.com / HaitiForever.com )
Teq (Minsky) was a great lead for adding movies to that Haitian database, as she is to Haitian entertainment, Haitian Vodou Flags, Haitian conferences, and yes, even Haitian gossip (zen). Adding to her fame, she is one of the original photographers for Windows on Haiti and a regular beat writer for another Haiti website. In my eyes, she is the Liz Smith for the greater New-York Haitian community; if not herself Haitian, then a Haiti socialite of the first order. I know that I am going to get my ears pulled for revealing so much about her, but I also know that if I get her attention, she may just come back with dozens of additional titles that should belong on the shelves of interested Haiti Film collectors.
You wrote on December 21, 2009 at 6:19pm
Pipo, "Sonson" sounds like a really good movie to watch. Was it ever for sale?
Wherever possible, let's give a little more information than just the movie title. Most interesting would be the director of the movie (réalisateur du film).
Teq Minsky wrote on December 21, 2009 at 7:10pm
the Liz Smith??? that really made me laugh!!!!
Don't forget this 10 CD hot off the presses Alan Lomax release with notes (a book onto itself) by Gage Avril and Lomax's field notes (and a map of Haiti)
The music has that scratchy field recording quality..but what do you expect from that field craft from 50 or more years ago!
Teq Minsky wrote on December 22, 2009 at 5:48am
FYI- to jog folk's memories or add to them for source material -there have been 3 film festivals in jakmel (with many current and not current Haitian film screened.) And, there was a Haiti on Screen many-day event in 2004 (at the Schomberg/NYU AND this past May --a Haiti month of screenings at the French Inst. and Maysles cinema in NY.
The Anthology of Film Archives holds the Maya Deren archives including hours of b&w silent footage shot in the streets of PAP and in the field (of Haiti.) There is a biopict of Maya Deren and the director screened hours of these reels; sometimes it was the actual first time
anyone had ever accessed this material.
FYI-interviews with Andre Pierre are in the film and the producer told me that what was included in that film was just taste of the hours of interviews that have with him. What important material this Czech producer has.
Teq Minsky wrote on December 22, 2009 at 5:51am
Guy-re: film collection, it's my understanding that Libr of Congr
obtained Corbett's film collection when he was disbanding it
(talk about Liz Smith!).
You wrote on December 22, 2009 at 6:46pm
Teq, please focus on my stated purpose for this thread (commercially available DVD's or VHS if still available, items that can be purchased at reasonable consumer prices).
Tony Rebecchi wrote on December 23, 2009 at 5:17am
You almost quoted all I know. I m thinking about two other ones:
+ Haiti dans tous nos rêves (Jean-Daniel Lafond) [greatest documentary on René Depestre!]
+ The serpent and the rainbow (Wes Craven)
Teq Minsky wrote on December 23, 2009 at 6:33am
How to conquer America in One Day (I think that's the name) a comedy by Dany Laferriere (very funny) , should check other films written by or directed by him
Also, for better or worse, Heading South
You wrote on December 23, 2009 at 10:44am
Hey Teq, is "Hot to Conquer America in One Day? available for sale? How good is it?
I have yet to see any film based on Danny Laferrière's novels, other than "Heading South" (which many diasporic Haitians found exploitative, but I enjoyed it... I guess I am not so politically correct.) Certainly, I would not select it as a title for my collection of educational films on Haiti, but it is indeed educational on human nature and quite realistic about the many adventures of well-to-do, often bored, independent, middle-class white women. The director, basing himself on four separate Laferrière short stories, I believe, haitianized the script a bit but it could have been adapted to other tropical destinations just as well. I don't see the need to be super-sensitive about it. Use the movie to generate discussions and decry the condition if you will, but it serves no purpose to attack a movie and a director that offers a slice of reality that in no way glorifies the practice. And who can deny the part that relates to the brutality of the Tonton Macoutes?
I haven't seen either "How to male love to a Negro without getting tired", though I have to say that in this case, I find the title a bit too provocative. But I guess, that's the essence of Dany Laferrière.
Teq Minsky wrote on December 23, 2009 at 10:54am
yes, i saw how to conquer america, wouldn't have added it if i hadn't
loved it (takes place in Montreal winter, fyi, but very funny)
as for heading south, sex tourism and the ripple affect was real
so, whether you like the subj, it isn't that inaccurate for that time
and yes, it could be placed in alot of locales, Caribbean and otherwise
happens though it was Haiti--so that's the subj (shot mostly in DR, too difficult to shoot it in Haiti in 2004!)
is it available to purchase, i can let you know about the films, but someone else will have to research their availability, (love to but
its time --a full time consuming effort
You wrote on December 23, 2009 at 11:01am
I made a typo in the name of the movie I mentioned above. The movie title is "How to maKe love to a Negro without getting tired". Who's seen it and is it worth buying?
Teq Minsky wrote on December 23, 2009 at 11:49am
don't know if that film has anything to do with Haiti except that its author is Haitian
another Laferriere based film is on the verge of a fever
Teq Minsky wrote on December 29, 2009 at 9:57am
Here is the list of flm tat were screened at the Haiti in Harlem 2 series:
- Les Illuminations de Madame Nerval, Charles Najman 1999
- Des Homes et des Dieux (Of Men and Gods), Anne Lescot, Lawrence Magloire, 2002
- Les Rois de la Route (The Kings of the Road)
- Le Ronde Vodou, Elsie Haas 1989
- Divine Horseman: The Living Gods of Haiti, Maya Deren 1953, completed 1981 Tejii Ito
- Haiti: Dreams of Democracy, Jonathan Demme 1988
- Carnival Jacmel, students of Cine Instit with Jonathan STack 2009
- Rara A Haitian Festival, Gail Pellet, 1978
- The Other Side of the Water, Journey of a Haitian Rara Band in Brooklyn
Jeremy Robins & Magali Damas, 2008
- Atis-Rezistans: The Sculptors of Grand Rue, Leah Gordon, 2005
Dreamer, Jorgen Leth, 2002
- Art Naif and Repression, 1976 Arnold Antonin
- Jacques Roumain: La Passion d'un Pays