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28939: Minsky: re: Labron 28890 Heading South (fwd)
From: Tequila Minsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Most of the supporting actors are members of the Haitian community of
Las Terrenas, the little town where the film was shot in the Samana
area of the Dominican Republic.
How did this film come to be?
(written by Tequila Minsky)
Director Laurent Cantet while visiting Haiti on a vacation in 2002 had
no intent to make a film about Haiti. He was walking in Port-au-Prince
and entered a bookshop and saw La Chair du Maitre by Dany Laferriere on
a table, which he bought. “I had heard about Dany, but hadn't read any
of his books,” he said. “I read the first two pages and knew that I was
going to like it. The same night, I was flying back to Paris. I opened
the book before taking off, and couldn't close it before landing in
Paris the following morning.” He went to a bookshop close to his house
and bought all the books he found.
Though the film is based on three short stories, the director was
inspired by situations and feelings from the whole of Laferriere’s
It took two and a half months in Port-au-Prince to find the lead,
non-actor Ménothy Cesar, who won the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the
2005 Venice Film Festival for his performance. Llys Ambroise, playing
Albert, is also from Port-au-Prince and was cast without previous
acting experience. Most of the supporting actors are members of the
Haitian community of Las Terrenas, the little town where the film was
shot in the Samana area of the Dominican Republic.
“We were supposed to shoot in 2004, but it was the moment Aristide fled
the country,” Cantet explains. The shooting was rescheduled and it took
seven weeks, the majority of the film shot in the Dominican Republic;
nine days were shot in Port-au-Prince.
Cantet adds, “Even one year later, it was difficult to convince the
insurance company to insure the film (which explains why it wasn’t
primarily shot in Haiti). Then, we had to adapt ourselves to the
situation (in Haiti). Locations I had scouted during my long stay in
Port-au-Prince were too dangerous and I had to find new locations,
which sometimes changed two hours before shooting. The most interesting
part of the work was precisely that: adapt the shooting to the
Cantet acknowledges what the actors brought to the film, “They know
more things about the Haitian reality than I do, and I was interested
by giving them the opportunity to change things with me. It was a real
meeting between us, often more exciting than working with professional
actors.” And successful, the film and the actors feel authentic.
Though the story is based on Laferriere’s writings, the author left the
interpretation up to the director and provided consultation when
needed. Writer Dany Laferriere also wrote the screenplay for the 2004
film On the Verge of a Fever, based on his book, Dining With the
Dictator. He wrote How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired,
made into a movie in 1989, and wrote and directed the comedy, How to
Conquer America (2004).
The director, Laurent Cantet, has also directed the films Human
Resources and Time Out.