by Raoul Peck
Creatively Speaking – Closing Screenings:
Sunday, March 20th | 7:30 p.m. | Venue: TBA
France/Haiti | 2009 | Drama | 107 mins | English, Creole & French w/ English subtitles
Master filmmaker Raoul Peck (Lumumba, Sometimes in April) returns with a haunting film on his home country — Haiti. Peck takes us to a hilltop fortress where the nation’s president is falling apart, buckling under the pressure of civil unrest and the international community’s increasing disapproval.
In a fortress perched on the top of a mountain, a democratically elected President (Zinedine Soualem) and his closest collaborators are getting ready for a state celebration. Foreign chiefs of state and dignitaries of all sorts are expected. But in the morning of the event, he wakes up to find the country inflamed the streets in turmoil. As the day goes on, rebellion worsens. Meanwhile, expected guests are withdrawing from the party one after another…
Crafting an almost Shakespearean tragedy in the confines of this isolated citadel, Peck delivers a searing critique of a government corrupted by power and an individual driven mad by it. Completed just months before the devastating January 12, 2010, earthquake, Moloch Tropical explores the ruinous costs of political dysfunction in Haiti.
About the Filmmaker
Raoul Peck is an award-winning Haitian filmmaker, of both documentary and feature films, and a political activist. Briefly, in the 1990s, he was Haiti’s Minister of Culture.
At age eight, the Haitan-born Peck and his family fled the Duvalier dictatorship and joined his father in Léopoldville, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Peck attended schools in the DRC (Léopoldville), in the United States (Brooklyn), and in France (Orléans), where he earned a baccalaureate, before studying industrial engineering and economics at Berlin University. He spent a year as a New York City taxi driver and worked (1980–85) as a journalist and photographer before attending and receiving a film degree (1988) from the German Film and Television Academy (DFFA) in West Berlin.
Peck initially developed short experimental works and socio-political documentaries, before moving on to feature films. His feature L’Homme sur les quais (1993; The Man by the Shore) was the first Haitian film to be released in theatres in the United States. It was also selected for competition at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. He has achieved his highest degree of international public attention for Lumumba, his 2000 feature film about Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the period around the independence of the Belgian Congo in June 1960.
Today, he divides his time between Voorhees, Camden County, New Jersey, USA; Paris, France; and Port-à-Piment, Haiti. He is president of La Fémis since January 10, 2010.