Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Vers Le Sud
France/Canada, 2005. Haut et Court, Les Films Séville, France 3 Cinéma, StudioCanal, Canal+, TPS Star, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Société de Développement des Entreprises Culturelles, Téléfilm Canada, Soficinéma, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Procirep, Cofinova 1. Screenplay by Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo, English translation by Sandy Whitelaw, based on three stories from the book La Chair Du Maitre by Dany Laferrière. Cinematography by Pierre Milon. Produced by Simon Arnal, Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta. Music by Elisabeth Joinet. Production Design by Franckie Diago. Costume Design by Denis Sperdouklis. Film Editing by Robin Campillo.
Thought-provoking political drama that takes place in Haiti in the late seventies, when the country was still a vacation paradise for rich white people but was also on the verge of a major upheaval (though of course it wouldn’t be its first or last). Three wealthy white women, one British, one American and one French-Canadian, enjoy the island sun and make paid sex servants of the local men. The British woman (a mesmerizing Charlotte Rampling) is enjoying a deeply connected relationship with a charismatic young stud when the American (an equally riveting Karen Young) shows up and starts a tug of war over him. The events that follow take the characters places they never expect to go as they learn that the place they thought of as their playground for plunder is no longer the paradise they once imagined it to be. Laurent Cantet tells a shamelessly symbolic story that doesn’t hide its intentions at all, but he tells it with grace and class and fills it with highly watchable performances.
Film Festivals: TIFF 2005
Venice Film Festival Award: Marcello Mastroianni Award (Menothy Cesar)