Film: 9675

Places + Locations | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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A film illustrating how people live in Haiti, concentrating on religion, agriculture, city living conditions and showing many images of the country's poor infrastructure due to soil erosion 1970's

A jeep bearing the license plate number L-20868 indicating the year 1972 is trying to climb a very muddy hill. Cuts to a large white building, colonial in style in what is, perhaps, Port au Prince. A parade marches through the clean wide streets. Cuts to President Jean-Claude Duvalier nicknamed Baby Doc. Baby Doc and other military personnel gathered around a memorial where a wreath has been laid. They salute a metal statue of a young man, his left leg extended behind him, drinking from a gourd. Soldiers are in line, some bearing the Haitian flag. Baby Doc leaves in a motor cavalcade. While the army marches along the streets, a group of men in the countryside attempt to push a truck out of the mud. Cuts to a statue of Christopher Columbus holding a cross in one hand while the other rests on the scabbard of his sword. Statues of native Haitian Indians from the same era are shown, shot of a mounted soldier from the nineteenth century. The citadel of Henri Christophe surrounded by heavy green vegetation looks out from a hill, shots of the citadel and views from it follow. Cuts to a cluster of thatched huts located on very dry land. A wooden hut elevated from the ground stands on wooden poles, a group of wooden huts stand close to each other to form a village, the occupants sit working. Women are grinding some corn, children play, a man travels by mule, a woman sweeps her porch and a young girl sits sewing. The huts in the village are sturdier than the more isolated ones. Men and women hoe and sow seeds on the land. A pair of oxen operate a well driven by a small boy. A woman and child share a saddle on a horse. Cuts to women and children washing clothed by the banks of a river. A group of men sandbag a cluster of huts against the threat of the river bursting its banks. Examples of soil erosion on roads and hills are shown. Women collect water from a basic well and carry it away on their heads in buckets or clay pots. Cuts to a wedding procession in a small village, the bride and groom are accompanied by villagers and catholic nuns. Horses bearing men and women gallop quickly into town. A sign in French reads 'a kind game, not war without passion'. A group of men are gathered in a circle to watch a cock-fight. Money is waved about as they encourage the birds to attack. Funeral mass is being said under a grasss canopy near a house. The white and silver coffin lays on two chairs. The crowd follows the coffin down a pathway to the cemetery and the coffin is slotted into a large flat tomb. Voodoo.
People wash and dance under a waterfall, they are naked except for undergarments. The dancing becomes increasingly frenzied, some look as if they are having a fit. Cuts to a calmer scene, a child plays in a pool beside the tree, candles are lit and placed on a 'cake' of moss. Ribbons and beads hang from a tree and people are praying around it. The location changes to a larger crowd praying outside a church, they appear to be talking to themselves and are kneeling, seated and standing holding candles. Others mill about them. A large group of people make their way along a dusty road, they play musical instruments - a Haitian 'didgeridoo', a conch shell and drums. They carry baskets of food on their heads. Cuts back to a water-hole where women are washing clothes or watering cows, horses and mules. A boy carries a bicycle on his back. Men work outside under shade - making shoes, working in a saw-mill, making metal pots, wooden statues and straw baskets. All use manual instruments. In a more rural and desolate area, women carry pots of water up the hill. Cuts back to a town and a large crowd mills around a busy market square. Women strain rice, men cut meat with large knives, food is weighed and prepared for sale. Trinkets and pots are displayed. Some women cross a small bridge. A Ford truck struggles on bad road conditions. Port au Prince is shown from an aerial view. A policeman directs traffic on a very busy street. The majority of cars and trucks on the streets are Fords. Messages such as 'Mister God' and Thankyou v Miracle' are written on the trucks. A boy wearing a hat that reads 'give me a guinness' is edging his way around a boat on the harbour. Sail and row boats are moored at the harbour, a navy vessel lies moored in the background. On the dock, men chop wood, others off-load supplies from boats. The camera moves along train tracks, shanty towns come up to the edge of the tracks. Shot of the train as it moves along the huts pulling empty goods carriages.
People haggle and pay for food on the busy street. A man performs a card-trick. Cinema posters are pasted on the town walls as is a sign asking to keep the town tidy. A food stall stands beside a compost heap and open drain.

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