Film festival: Haiti in Harlem

Haiti in Harlem
Date: September 29 – October 6
Location: Maysles Institute, 343 Malcolm X Boulevard / Lenox Avenue (between 127th and 128th Streets)
Tickets: Suggested Admission: $7. Box office opens 1 hour before show time.

The Films

Monday, Sept. 29 7:30 pm
Queimada (Burn!) with Marlon Brando
Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo (Battle of Algiers), 1969, 132 mins.

The German, Polish and French movie posters of Queimada
The German, Polish and French movie posters

Duration: 7 min 33 sec

A Caribbean island in the mid-1800’s. Nature has made it a paradise; man has made it a hell. Slaves on vast sugar plantations are ready to turn their misery into rebellion—and the British are ready to provide the spark. They send agent William Walker (Marlon Brando) on a devious three-part mission: trick the slaves into revolt, grab the sugar trade for England…then return the slaves to servitude. Colonialism and insurrection are explored in the searing epic BURN!. Both visually and narratively stunning, BURN! glows with the fires of filmmaking genius. Genius is also evident in Brando’s complex, intelligent portrayal of a man who is both gentlemen and scoundrel, revolutionary and colonialist. And Ennio Morricone’s (The Untouchables, The Mission) haunting music memorably underscores the almost overwhelmingly powerful story.

Tuesday, Sept. 30 7:30 pm
Bitter Cane
Haiti Films, 1983, 75 mins.

Bitter Cane

Six years in the making and filmed clandestinely under the Duvalier dictatorship, Bitter Cane is a timeless documentary classic about the exploitation and foreign domination of the Haitian people. From peasant coffee farms in the rugged tropical mountains to steamy U.S.-owned sweatshops in the teeming capital, the film takes the viewer on a journey through Haitian history to a deeper understanding of that country’s political economy. We see emerging paths of flight—industries from the U.S., refugees from Haiti—which are having profound effects on both societies.
Director will be in attendence.

Wednesday, Oct. 1 7:30 pm
Haiti: Killing the Dream
Dir. Katharine Kean, Rudi Stern, Babeth, Hart Perry 1992, 57 mins.

Haiti: Killing the Dream

A stark, explosive look at a besieged neighboring country whose origins as the world’s first independent black republic have been obscured by decades of brutal repression. Here the Haitian people speak for themselves. They also speak through their deposed leader, Jean Bertrand Aristide, the country’s democratically elected president, who is now in exile. Haiti’s repression has been historically countenanced, if not inspired, by the United States, a posture that exists to this day.
Director will be in attendence.

Thursday, Oct. 2 7:30 pm
Dir. Katharine Kean, 1997, 156 mins.


This award-winning film chronicles the political events and human tragedy surrounding the 1991 military coup d’etat in Haiti and the bloody dictatorship that followed. It presents a searing indictment not only of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s role in the turmoil, but also that of the powerful and reclusive Haitian bourgeoisie. Unlike the mainstream media, Rezistans does not portray the Haitian people as helpless victims. It focuses instead on their creative and courageous resistance, and the deep roots of that resistance in Haitian history and culture.
Director will be in attendence.

Friday, Oct. 3 7:30 pm
Aristide and the Endless Revolution
Dir. Nicolas Rossier, 2005, 84 mins.

Aristide and the Endless Revolution

Duration: 2 min 28 sec

Nicolas Rossier’s powerful and informative documentary focuses on Aristide’s later years as president, as he struggled to fulfill his promises of reform in the face of mounting domestic opposition (driven in large part by business and military interests) and, simultaneously, an increasingly hostile relationship with the United States. Popular among Haiti’s poor and disenfranchised, Aristide became a target of Haiti’s business interests (and the political parties that served those interests) because of his daring policies which tried to raise the standard of living for the huge majority of Haitians.
Director will be in attendence.

Friday, Oct. 3 9:00 pm
Haiti: Democracy Undone
Dir. Peter Bull, Walt Bogdanich, Pascal Akesson, 2006, 57 mins.
Haiti: Democracy Undone presents new evidence that the U.S. had one foreign policy on Haiti but secretly carried out a very different policy – and that those mixed signals helped tilt the country toward chaos.

Saturday, Oct. 4 7:30 pm
The Price of Sugar
Dir. Bill Haney, 2007, 90 mins.

The Price of Sugar

Duration: 2 min 25 sec

In the Dominican Republic, a tropical island-nation, tourists flock to pristine beaches unaware that a few miles away thousands of dispossessed Haitians are toiling under armed guard on plantations harvesting sugarcane, much of which ends up in U.S. kitchens. They work grueling hours and frequently lack decent housing, clean water, electricity, education and healthcare. Narrated by Paul Newman, The Price of Sugar follows Father Christopher Hartley, a charismatic Spanish priest, as he organizes some of this hemisphere’s poorest people to fight for their basic human rights. This film raises key questions about where the products we consume originate and at what human cost they are produced.
Director will be in attendence.

Sunday, Oct. 5 7:30
Man by the Shore (L’Homme sur les Quais) [NYTimes Review]
Dir. Raoul Peck, 1993, 106 mins.

Man by the Shore (L'Homme sur les Quais)

Set in Haiti during the early sixties when François “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s regime was consolidating its brutal control, The Man by the Shore is an eloquent account of the ways in which political oppression can saturate ones consciousness and infiltrate the details of everyday life.

Monday, Oct. 6 7:30 pm
Pawol Granmoun
Dir. David Belle, 2002, 58 mins.
“Pawol Gran Moun” or “Words of the Elders” is the first part in a number of documentaries about traditional culture that Crowing Rooster Arts is currently producing in Haiti. This series aims to capture the lives, memories and traditions of Haiti’s older generations during a time when the country’s youth increasingly embraces foreign values and culture.
As traditional life and memory seem to be more and more jeopardized everywhere in the world, “Pawol Gran Moun” hopes to serve as a reminder that the wisdom and knowledge of our elders is essential to both our history and our future.

This first one hour segment is the portrait of three elder peasants: a tailor, a sailor and a Vodou priest. Through the story of each man’s life, the Haiti of yesterday and today meet, and the beauty of the way that life has been lived for generations lives on.
Director will be in attendence.

Madame Tizo
Dir. David Belle, 2004, 64 mins.
Madame Tizo (Mrs. Little Bones) is a documentary portrait of a dynamic peasant healer from Jacmel, Haiti. The film tells the story of an extraordinary Haitian elder who runs the equivalent of a rural health clinic from her modest thatched roof hut situated near the Jacmel River. While taking care of numerous relatives and neighbors who depend upon her, Mrs. Little Bones or Mother Bones, as friends know her, simultaneously works as a midwife and leaf doctor for an endless stream of men, women and children who find their way to her yard seeking relief from their maladies. Humorous, mysterious and insightful, the film offers a rare glimpse into the traditional life of Haitian peasants. A reality where faith in the spirit world is central to resolving problems and where access to modern medicine is extremely limited.
Director will be in attendence.

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Classes: Development Ventures [MIT D-Lab]

D-Lab IV: Development Ventures Seminar

Earlier last month Sandy Pentland and Joost Bonsen kicked off their Development Ventures seminar, which has become a part of the D-lab family of classes.

Course Description:

Development Ventures (DV) is an exploratory developmental entrepreneurship seminar on founding, financing, & building viable ventures in developing nations and emerging regions. DV is a member of the larger D-Labs family of classes addressing Development-Design-Dissemination at MIT. Since 2001 we have challenged students to use business methods to tackle the UN Millennium Development Goals by crafting enduring, scalable, and economically viable solutions to problems faced by at least One Billion people worldwide.

Jose Gomez-Marquez from Little Devices That Could is going to be attending the class so check out his blog for up to date info on how the class is going.

Related Links:
Development Ventures 2008 Syllabus
Development [Fall 2004 MIT Opencourseware, Stellar]
Design [ Spring 2005 MIT Opencourseware; 2006 course site]
D-lab III: Dissemination [Spring 2007 MIT Opencourseware]

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via Little Devices That Could