This evocation of Haiti is cinema poetry of intoxicating lyricism, a powerful allegory of the racial and sexual politics of colonial heritage.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
Michelange Quay's evocation of Haiti, the land of his parents, is cinema poetry of intoxicating lyricism and powerful, politically charged image-making. An exultant aerial shot opens the film. From the blue ocean we fly in, over tropical vegetation, over cluttered slums, travelling deeper and deeper into the country, landing finally at a run-down old plantation where life is far from lush. Quay allegorises the racial and sexual politics of colonial heritage in a series of elaborate and enigmatic invented rituals involving an elderly white woman, her daughter (Sylvie Testud) and groups of black boys and men. Quay's aestheticism has been controversial for his film: though palpably angry and spiked with provocations it is also a seductively gorgeous artifact. Eschewing the digital processes that have invaded every stage of contemporary filmmaking, he thrills us with celluloid at its most unadulterated and completely ravishing. — BG