April 23, 2004
On the Big Board
||Doc reflects the history of a country (Haiti) through the life of one man
From the Academy Award winning director of The Silence of the Lambs comes this documentary about the life of Haitian activist and radio announcer Jean Dominique.
Director Jonathan Demme met Dominique in 1987, which started a "conversation" between the two men that would last until Dominique was killed by assassins believed to have been hired by a senator in now former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party. Demme has assembled various taped recordings of his discussions with Dominique that took place over the years and assembled them with footage that realistically examines the political upheaval in Haiti as well as the operation of the various U.S. armed services during the Papa Doc, Baby Doc and Aristide eras.
Dominique is a notable figure because he bought the tiny radio station Radio Haiti Inter in 1968, and went on the air as the first ever broadcaster to use the Haitian Creole language of the common man as opposed to the French that was preferred by the elite. Over the years, Dominique would find his station shut down, reopened, shot at, and shut down again, while he himself was intermittently imprisoned and banished from his homeland.
Since the movie was completed, current events have seen Aristide flee his own country and a continued air of unrest in Haiti. The country is unsafe for democratic elections. And the people behind the murders of Dominique continue to go unpunished. The Agronomist should provide a very topical look into the political forces at work in a nation that remains very troubled. (Kim Hollis/BOP)