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#2429: film minister .Delatour replies

From: Mario L. Delatour <mardel@gol.com>

Dear David,
You are absolutely correct in saying that "Serpent and the Rainbow" the
movie was a far cry from the excellent book that Wade Davis wrote.The movie
despite it's 14 million budget was yet another cheap Holywood version of
"Vodou".This of course was done to reap all the commercial benefits from
the genre that Holywood had long ago established.What you should know
though, was that the author himself collaborated with the filmmaker Wes
Craven to commercialize his work.If anyone knew about Wes Craven's track
record as a filmmaker, it was Wade Davis.In the initial stages of pre
production, I personally accompanied Wade Davis,Wes Craven and producer
David Ladd on the tomb of famous zombi victim Narciss Darcius on the
outskirts of Gonaives.Davis was handsomely paid for the rights of his book
and was also present during the initial stages of filming in Haiti.Whether
or not he was pleased with the final results is another matter. 
I now regretfully accept your resignation as my film minister.

Mario L. Delatour
PRESIDENT A VIE A VIE A VIE A VIE ........................

> From: David x Young <Frelgo@interport.net>
>  I feel I should address the generous offer of a position  of Film
> Minister  in that curious off-campus government.
> My first act would be to ban  Wes Craven  under the penalty of Doc
> torture from ever returning to Haiti for that piece of cinematic
> excrescence that almost destroyed a wonderful book THE SERPENT AND THE
> RAINBOW. Craven's   raw-head-and-bloody-bones approach to filmaking
> hardly earns him the position of a "master " when you consider the
> subtle works of a James Whale or a Val Lewton, just to mention a pair of
> alternatives. (and Lewton's I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE--- despite the
> dreadful title-- made sixty years ago--- still has the fairest depiction
> of Vodun ever to come from Hollywood).
>  SERPENT, Zombie drug inquiry aside, has a historical section that is
> one of the best pieces of  scholarly  research in recent writings, and
> certainly should be required reading for anyone in the UN or US State
> Department. That the Craven film turned off potential  readers for this
> book is an utter disgrace.
> There is something utterly unique,  magical and majestic  (not to be
> found elsewhere in the Caribbean) about the raw phenomenon of Haiti that
> seems to get lost under the weight of do-gooder trivia and "Democracy"
> posturing  in the recent years since 1986 when the world began to pay
> attention. To get clear on this you have to go to the great masterpiece
> of  Alejo Carpentier's ,  THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD. (what a film that
> could be in the right hands! In the early sixties I tried to get the
> film rights--- which could have been had for about $40,000--- but never
> could raise the scratch).
> An equal masterpiece--of a more intimate nature-- is the Marcelin
> Brothers' ALL MEN ARE MAD. For anyone who is puzzled by the Quixotic
> nature of Haitian politics (beyond the greed factor)  this book is a
> must-read. No less a literary icon than Edmund Wilson called it a 'most
> distinguished work of literature'. These two works stride easily over
> the Danticats ,  etcetera,  of current fashionability.
> In 1986, thanks to then Tourist Director Aubelin Jolicoeur, I came to
> Haiti to shoot a lot of stuff in that peaceful and optimistic post Baby
> Doc-preNamphy nasties period in the spring and summer. Unfortunately
> Aubelin got dechoukeed and fortunately I ended up with a lot of
> interesting footage, which, $$ permitting, I shall soon turn into a
> film. Another documentary, shot 1956-1969 is SEVEN HAITIAN MOODS.
> If anyone's curiosity is whetted, a taste of work of mine from 1955 re
> Haiti is on the website www.bluuchip.com     and related information on
> CNN&TIME this sunday Feb 20 at 9pm.
> Other works include three screenplays; THE UNEXPECTED  ZOMBI  (fiction)
> CHRISTOPHE KING (historical work-in-progress) begun under the
> inspiration of Walky Busenius and  Theo Duval, and RWACONGO, based on
> the true story of Faustin Wirkus, "The White King Of La Gonave". Here we
> have a 'benevolent dictator'  par excellence. Marine Wirkus was an
> uneducated stud of a good man who  had the hip sense to recognize the
> intelligence of the rural Congo Farm societies of La Gonave and used his
> office to enhance and better them. In reward the societies, under a very
> wise Mambo, persuaded him as the reincarnation of Souloque and made him
> the 'Congo King'. This almost magical harmony of alien approaches is in
> itself a great love story and the best example of American aid ever to
> come to Haiti. But even the great god Demme was too square to pick up on
> it.
> I now resign my position as Minister of Film.
> David X Young