Release Date: November 17th-23rd, 2005 (NYC-Two Boots Pioneer) by First Run Features.
Directed by Nicolas Rossier.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Jean Bertrant Aristide, the President of Haiti who was thrown out of office in 2004.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Director Nicolas Rossier does a great job of balancing the argument that Aristide was unrightfully overthrown from his presidency. On the one hand, he made many bad mistakes that led to the coup d'état. Some people were led to believe that he simply resigned without any force. On the other hand, his mistakes were not his own fault. His supporters claim that the U.S. embargo on Haitian loans made it very difficult for Aristide to strengthen and support his government. Even though the U.S. claims that they have already donated millions of dollars to Haiti, Congresswoman Maxine Waters points out that none of the money was given to the Aristide government. When the masses started to oppose him, he turned to the U.S. army which was there at the time, but they would not help him nor would anyone else. Interestingly, this was the second time that he was driven out of office—the first time was in 1991, although he only had one more year to serve. In a somewhat awkward scene, President George W. Bush promises that the U.S. is actually restoring order in Haiti and, on top of that, that there’s a new interim government—which is quite the contrary. Aristide’s mistakes that led to the coup d'état start from his election campaign in 2000 as the Haitians gradually believed that he was manipulating them, particularly regarding his verbal attacks on the Lavalas campaign that was running against him at the time. Furthermore, Senator Noriega claims that another mistake was that he got rid of his army and led his country into violence, especially against those who opposed him. Fortunately, this film doesn’t latch onto that claim so strongly without asking for evidence of this violence and how it might be linked directly to Aristide. The direct interviews with Aristide himself are very compelling and thoroughly engaging. Fortunately, director Nicolas Rossier succeeds in making the opposing arguments just as compelling.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The game of politics can often be full of corruption, yet what’s so intriguing is that there’s so much grey area. It’s both interesting and sad that the facts show how the U.S. tried to get eliminate of democracy in Haiti. Clearly, somebody went wrong somewhere, but if only they could actually admit their wrong doing. That’s too much to ask for from most politicians these days. Aristide might have been well-meaning, but the fact remains that he did make some mistakes. However, that still doesn’t seem to make it right for him to be physically forced out of office and nearly have his own life threatened.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: Compelling, intriguing, and well-balanced!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "A" Menu