Ghost of Cite Soleil
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But as the other reviewers pointed out, this movie had a heavy, yet subtle bias. The film never mentioned the source for the financial backing behind the return of the opposition army, the propoganda surrounding Haiti's civil war or the documentation showing U.S.A. and France were were involved prior to their "peace-keeping" activities. They movie misses the bloodbath following unseating an elected leader in favor of returning a dictator. But that has also become such a common script for U.S. foreign affairs since WWII, that it's not very hard to spot anymore.
Complicated? Yes. And that's why this movie is so worthwhile seeing. Despite the obvious bias, the movie was shot through the eyes of people fighting for their elected leader and the viewer is pulled into their personal dilemnas and can't help identifing with their desires. The armed gangs that exist in Haiti are gradually revealed weren't about personal power as much as they were born out of a need for survival, a sense of order - and strangley, a quest for peace. That story became the real intrique of the movie for me. It didn't seem to matter who lead the country as long as violence created more violence.
If the movie had added even one line giving it a more objective context, I wouldn't hesitate to give it 5 stars. I found the subtitles were easy to follow since over half the movie was in broken english. The story moved along quickly without any dull moments. All the characters were believable since they were real and engaging. But what impressed me was the fact I wanted to watch it again, soon.Read more ›
That doesn't mean this documentary is not worth watching, as it gives you an idea of what the lives of the people who lived in the slum of Cité Soleil were like, and the few choices they had in order to stay alive. Become a chimere (or "ghost") and be a part of the gang or die, kill or be killed. Furthermore, "Ghosts of Cite Soleil" prompts you to find out on your own what it doesn't give you, that is, at least a little more information regarding the historical, political, social and economic roots of the deep unrest we witness throughout the film.
On the whole, I can say that "Ghosts of Cite Soleil" portrays a shocking and violent reality in a crude but effective way. I recommend this documentary, but with some reservations: it is not perfect, and it is certainly not for the weak of heart.
The documentary "Ghosts of Cite Soleil" focuses on two brothers - one who goes by the name Haitian 2Pac and the other Bily - who, at the time the movie was filmed, made up two of the five major chieftains who ruled the area. 2Pac, who describes himself on camera as a gangster/rapper and as "pure Mafia," nevertheless sees himself as a defender of the downtrodden who have been largely abandoned by the higher-ups and powerbrokers in his country. Thus, his devotion to the Aristide government is seen as tenuous and conditional at best. His younger brother, Bily, however, would appear to have political aspirations of his own, so he is more overtly loyal to the corrupt leader.
The movie was shot mainly in February 2004, which, as fortune would have it, was also the precise moment when Aristide was forcibly removed from office by groups of armed rebels, many of them former soldiers of the army that Aristide himself had earlier disbanded. Thus, the latter portion of the movie takes place in the not-much-more-stable post-Aristide era.
It's hard to imagine a more despairing film than "Ghosts of Cite Soleil," as even 2Pac himself states right up front that in this impoverished hellhole "you never live long, you always die young.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Insightful attention grabber! So well-designed... You almost forget it's a documentary. Real-time footage of the civil unrest is absolutely unreal.Published 21 months ago by J CASH
The documentary is well filmed. But I don't agree on the fact that the united nation stated that cite soleil is the most dangerous city on earth. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Nahomie Moise
It's good for us to watch these films and remind ourselves that these things are happening all over the world.Published on September 16, 2013 by Bonita Ames
I saw this on T.V for the first time and knew I had to add it to my collection, sad story howeverPublished on August 25, 2013 by Nehanda Nzingha Sankofa-Ra
This is an amazing film simply because it exists. I cannot imagine how the film makers got access to this environment and we're able to capture this footage. Read morePublished on May 16, 2010 by John P. Marsh
Thoroughly dismaying and often disgusting, this lurid, amoral pseudo-celebration of inner-city gangstas evokes neither sympathy nor understanding. Read morePublished on January 27, 2010 by Carolyn Paetow
i just want to add to all these comments my own infatuation with the character of lele, the french aid worker. Read morePublished on January 22, 2010 by moineau
This film portrayed how life was in Haiti just a few years ago. Ghosts of Cite Soleil is an excellent film, but I would not recommend showing it to children; it has strong... Read morePublished on March 19, 2009 by Ruth Tucker