The Agronomist Review

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Documentary about the life of Jean Dominique, a Haitian radio journalist and human rights activist murdered in 2000.


Jonathan Demme maintains a sideline as a documentarian - requently to stir up public interest in the often tragic, horribly farcical modern history of Haiti.

Here he retells that history through the life of Jean Dominique, a sometime agricultural scientist who became the owner-operator of the island's only independent radio station and stuck at the job under regimes of varying oppressiveness, with several long spells in exile.

Demme relies on interview footage with the charismatic, skeletal Dominique, a passionately angry humanist with a wry streak, but sketches in the context with newsreel material and educational captions.

Assembled after Dominique's murder in 2000, it closes with his widow's on-air claim that the man's spirit is alive; Haiti watchers can only hope so, since the film arrives after another of the bloody upheavals that marked its government during Dominique's lifetime. Ragged, of course, but powerful, moving stuff.

Ragged, of course, but powerful, moving stuff.