[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

5489: List of Jorgen Leth's Haiti films from Ingegerd Petersen

From: Ingegerd N Petersen <inp.ry@ci.kk.dk>

Jorgen Leth's Haiti films

Danish film-maker Jorgen Leth has more than 35 films behind him and has
received numerous international honours and awards. His oeuvre has been
presented in retrospective programmes at the British Film Institute,
London, at the American Film Institute, Washington, and in Rouen and
Bombay. He is also a prolific writer, (eleven volumes of poetry and four
non-fiction books).
He is the recipient of a life-long grant from the Danish State and has
lived in Haiti since 1991. His latest film, I'm Alive (1999), a
documentary-portrait of a famous Danish Poet, ran three months in a
theatre in Copenhagen and has already been celebrated at international
festivals. Leth's own Collected Poems 1962-2000 will be published in
February. Leth has made four films in Haiti and will be finishing his
fifth next year.


1983 - 93 minutes - 35 mm, colour - directed by Jorgen Leth- screenplay
Jorgen Leth, Klaus Rifbjerg - cinematography Alexander Gruszynski -
sound Jan Juhler - editor Kristian Levring - actors Henning Jensen,
Hanne Uldal, Francois Latour, Aubelin Jolicoeur, Jocasta Maspuda,
Roberto d'Aubuisson, Grard Rsil, Herv Denis, Al Seitz a.o. -narrator
Joseph Benti - composer Fuzzy - producer Vibeke Windeloev- production
HTM Films.

Haiti Express is shot entirely on location in El Salvador (the first 10
minutes) and Haiti. Alex Hansen (Henning Jensen) is a foreign
correspondent on an assignment in El Salvador during the civil war. He
makes an interview with the infamous Colonel Roberto D'Aubuisson, but is
in a burnt-out state of mind and goes to Haiti where he meets a
mysterious Danish woman (Hanne Uldal), who disappears shortly
He is uncessfully trying to set up an interview with Jean Claude "Baby
Doc" Duvalier while spiralling downwards in Port-au-Prince nightlife.
Alex' moods are mirrored by  the film's structure. Haiti Express does
not tell a straightforward story, but presents the fictional elements
within a documentary frame. The crisis of Alex is ironically commented
upon by the narrator who questions the reporter's motivation. The film
contains many interesting images from Haiti in the early eighties. The
dimly lighted scenes from Port-au-Prince at night are full of
atmosphere. Many scenes are beautifully composed mini-stories and Leth
applies a smooth gliding camera style to his rather experimental story
telling technique.

35 mm film prints (English version): The Danish Film Institute.


1986 - 82 minutes - 35 mm, colour - director Jorgen Leth -cinematography
Dan Holmberg - screenplay Jorgen Leth - Sound Niels Arnt Torp - editor
Camilla Skousen- narrator Jorgen Leth - production Leth & Uldal

Moments of Play is one of Leth's acclaimed international successes. It
is a personal, poetical, caleidoscopic film-essay, reflecting the
many-facetted picture of children and adults at play in different
cultures around the world. Sponsored by the LEGO group, and filmed on
location in Brazil, United States, The People's Republic of China,
Indonesia, England, Spain, Denmark - and Haiti.

35 and 16 mm prints (English version): The Danish Film Institute, and
Jorgen Leth. Video copies (English version): the LEGO Group, Jane
Balfour Films, London, and Jorgen Leth. Prize-winner at a number of
international film festivals.


1992 - 91 minutes - 35 mm, colour - director Jorgen Leth -cinematography
Dan Holmberg - screenplay Jorgen Leth - sound Niels Arnt Torp - editor
Camilla Skousen - actors Ebbe Traberg, Ambroise Thompson, Jean-Claude
Dicquemare, Pio Lindegaard, Lunise Morse, Aubelin Jolicoeur, Yvrodie
Jean--Baptiste, Mikel Berasaluce  - narrator Erik Moerk - music Nat King
Cole, Robbie Robertson a.o. - producer Marianne Christensen - production

Jorgen Leth Productions.

The dramatic events in Haiti, 1991  Lafontant 's aborted coup attempt,
Aristide's first days as president, the military coup - blew away the
planned semi-fictional structure of this film about Traberg arriving in
Haiti to make a strange deal. Traberg became a story about Haiti in that
bloody period of its recent history, a feature film which mixes
reflection with reportage.
Real life' s Ebbe Traberg is a legendary Danish writer, living in Spain,
who became fascinated, like his friend Jorgen Leth, with the
island-country on the other side of the ocean.

35 mm prints and video copies: The Danish Film Institute, and Jorgen


1996 - 85 min., 35 mm, colour - director Jorgen Leth -cinematography
Tmas Gislason, Dan Holmberg, Alexander Gruszsynski, Jorgen Leth -
screenplay Jorgen Leth - editors Camilla Skousen, Jacob Thuesen - music
Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson - producer Dino Raymond Hansen - production Sunset

Jorgen Leth: I feel like hypnotized by life in Haiti. Every time I come
back I have the feeling of a personal submersion under the surface into
chaos. But a chaos that fascinates me with its mystery, its horrors, its
sensuality, its beauty and its surreal scenes."
The films consists of footage from different periods 1982-84, 1991-95
and puts together contrasting elements: political violence, vodou,
anecdotes and erotic scenes. Leth doesn't want to give a one-dimensional
view of his beloved Haiti, but offers instead a subjective, even an
idiosyncratic one. Controversial personalities such as Emmanuel "Toto"
Constant, Franck Romain and Raoul Cdras are prominently represented in
the film, while president Jean--Bertrand Aristide is receiving the
invalids at the national palace and talks about reconciliation and
justice. The film is edited in a rather innovative  way. Catalogue text
from International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam: "Leth uses his
camera to probe into the mixture of myth and reality that determines
everyday life on Haiti. With a small crew he registers anecdotes,
absurd, dramatic as well as wonderful scenes. The result is a personal
documentary about a country that exerts a strong attraction on
outsiders, precisely because of the surrealist impression it often

35 and 16 mm prints, and video copies: The Danish Film Institute, Jorgen
Leth (Sunset Productions Inc). Winner of Golden Plaque as best
documentary of the year 1996 at The Chicago International Film Festival,
New York premiere at the Museum of Modern  Art.


Work-in-progress. Will contain footage shot during many years of
observing the Haitian art scene, including interviews and other material
with Philom Obin (filmed 1982), Rigaud Benoit (1984), Jasmin Joseph
(1984), Salnave Philippe Auguste (1984), Andr Pierre (1982, 1984, 1993,
1999), Prospre Pierre-Louis (1991), Lvoy Exil (1999), Prfte Duffaut
(1999), Wilson Bigaud (1999), Antilhomme Richard (1991, 1999), Levoy
(1999) and many others. Post-production will start shortly. Planned
release: summer 2000.
Estimated length: 55 minutes - 16 mm, colour - director Jorgen Leth -
cinematography Alexander Gruszsynski, Dan Holmberg, Teit Joergensen -
screenplay Jorgen Leth - editor Camilla Skousen - production Sunset
Productions Inc. and Bech Film, Copenhagen.