Set five years after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, Guetty Felin’s Ayiti Mon Amour is both a love letter to the country and a reminder that there is still plenty of work to be done to get the land thriving again. Loosely framing the film around three interlocking narratives, Felin’s tells the story of a teenager who discovers he has super powers, a muse who finds it difficult to leave the story her author is writing, and an elderly fisherman who is trying to find a cure for his ailing wife. Filling each story with a magical neorealism, the film floats from one tale to the next with the ease of a fish swimming in a sparsely populated sea.
The characters in Ayiti Mon Amour are thinly drawn, but in some ways that is actually a good thing. The film is not so much concerned with its plot as it is immersing the viewer into the Haitian culture. Felin’s shows the audience that Haiti is more than what is depicted on the news. It is vibrant and culturally rich land where the sense of community still thrives despite the tragedy that has occurred. Playing up the mystical side of the Haiti, Felin’s does not shy away from the serious agricultural concerns of the land as well. She shows how erosion caused by the quake has greatly impacted the fishing industry, as well as how some communities are still dealing with a lack of water and electricity. All of this makes for a captivating meditation on life and tragedy. Through her film, Felin reminds us that just because Haiti is not routinely on the nightly news anymore, that does not mean that the country should be forgotten from our hearts and minds.
Sunday, September 18, 9:39 PM, Scotiabank
Tickets can be purchased at tiff.net