waking into a dream journal 12.27.07

Haïti: la fin des chimères?... [Haiti: The Last of the Chimeres]
Director: Charles Najman // French-Haitian, 2004
Cinema 4 Rating: 7

honestly, i hardly ever think about haiti except in terms of zombies... or anytime i run across news items pertaining to its history and tragedy -- then i perk up, almost as if its history were a pocket (you know that second little pocket inside the right-hand pocket of men's pants that i assume is for change, but have never understood why it would be on the right side, since i am a leftie?) hobby of mine, and i listen intently in the manner in which i should have listened in school -- let's not mince words, this film is definitely, despite the occasional "no, no, no, you've got it all wrong" voice from his side of the government, not a pro-aristide piece -- and it shouldn't, given that all who emerge with that sort of power, even a priest... especially a priest... are doomed to do great evil -- "power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely" may be the truest words ever written or spoken -- this film was apparently made just before aristide's second ousting in 2004, and is largely composed of interviews with those scholars and historians discussing haiti's inherent lockstep into the kind of political quicksand that has left the bulk of its population in a state of perpetual poverty since 1804 -- some point out proudly how it was the first and only country with a successful slave rebellion (which it was); others point out, that despite that initial success, haiti is still composed of a slave population, but that they just aren't considered to be slaves -- much is said of the richer class that supposedly props up creeps like aristide, but as near as i can tell, none really get interviewed (not counting former government yes-men) -- most moving part is the trip to one of haiti's numerous slum areas, with homes that seem somewhat reminiscent of having gone through an atom bombing -- a sharp young man describes his displeasure with the current regime, but there is the sense that he is teetering on the edge of violence that could possibly doom him to become one of those that he despises -- as he listens and speaks in a round-robin discussion with others of his set, another young man squats in the doorway of a ramshackle cottage, like a dog nervously protecting his bone, and cleans a pistol -- the film cuts off just before aristide's departure, but we are given glimpses of the man at various rallies, especially a strange christmas party where he comes off distant but very controlling in his behavior; his eyes seem like a man who is scheming through his pain even as he hands out soccer balls to the children -- it's hard to understand his charisma, but then, i never seems to understand that aspect of politicians -- if you take them all immediately as being something other than they portray, and discount their charisma from the beginning, then you can start to determine their true worth as leaders...

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