Screening as part of the ongoing New York African Film Festival’s 2017 lineup is Haitian-American filmmaker Guetty Felin’s “Ayiti Mon Amour.”
In the emerging post-earthquake cinema of Haiti, no voice shines as brightly as Felin whose “Ayiti Mon Amour” invokes Haiti’s past and present with stories that intertwine and collide. Felin is telling the stories of poignant characters in a poetic and visually stunning array, minus a narrative of sorrow and pity that permeates similar dramas.
In Kabic, a small southeast fishing village outside of Jacmel, we meet four characters trying to make sense out of their existence. There is Orphee, bullied for being different and grieving the loss of his father, who one day discovers he has a special electrifying power gained from the sea – but with great power comes great responsibility; the love story of the old fisherman Juares, caring for his ailing wife Odessa, who has come down with a disease only the sea can cure; the beautiful & mysterious Ama, the main character of an unfinished novel being written by an uninspired writer, who becomes weary and decides to leave the story to live a life of her own. And then, there are the ‘rags,’ the empty clothing, which houses the underwater-animated spirits of the dead.
A magical neorealist tale, “‘Ayiti Mon Amour’ is a love poem to my native land; a place that I ache for, that haunts me, that frightens and yet angers me, a place that I am fiercely and madly in love with,” says Felin. For the director, “Ayiti” was born out of her desire “to make something out of nothing…the desire to no longer be waiting for approval, for funders, for bankable actors.”
She regards her film as inspired by Italian neo-realism director Roberto Rossellini’s “Paisan” (1946), and all about “salvaging love after disaster.”
The film stars Anisia Uzeyman (Alain Gomis’ “Tey” and director of upcoming narrative “Dreamstates”), Joakim Ethan Cohen, Jaures Andris, Pascale Faublas, James Noel, Judith Jeudi.
Iconoclastic film director Mira Nair (“The Namesake,” “Mississippi Masala”) serves as the executive producer of “Ayiti Mon Amour.”
Previously presented in conjunction with Haiti Cultural Exchange, BAMcinématek, and the Brooklyn Cinema Collective, “Ayiti Mon Amour” made its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, and is now screening at the NYAFF.
Watch a trailer for the film below: