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by Karen Kramer
color, 52 min, 1982
Haitian Song is a lyrical portrait of life in a small village in rural Haiti. The film focuses on the "rituals" which compose the texture of everyday life: getting water from the river; making rope by hand from sisal; cooking rice and beans in an outdoor kitchen; planting and harvesting.
Through intimate and detailed scenes, the film follows Gustav and Zilmen, a man and a woman, through the cycle of their day and follows the larger community through the cycles of the week: the market on Tuesday; the cockfight on Saturday; the dance on Sunday.
Narrated entirely in Creole (with English subtitles) by Haitian peasants and interwoven throughout with haunting songs, the film evokes a mood and feeling of rural village life. It is highly visual, as well as informative and educational.
"A unique film. Haitian Song is a film of another genre, different from all that we have seen and heard of Haiti. This new film shows us a Haitian family in the countryside from Monday to Sunday. And one hears the authentic voice of the peasants explaining the life of our home... Originally from the South of Haiti, I identify with what I have seen in Haitian Song, and I encourage you to see for yourself this film, which will make your tears run, but will also make you laugh." Haiti Observateur