Documentary Film: Hotel Haiti

One of the documentary films that screened this weekend at the Montreal International Black Film Festival was Hotel Haiti (2011) a film directed by Uli Aumueller with a screenplay by Alma Barkey. The festival runs from September 19-30, 2012.

Description: Hotel Haiti is a portrait of the legendary Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where Graham Greene set and wrote his novel The Comedians. One of its regulars, the American writer Herbert Gold, calls it the “Chelsea Hotel” of the Caribbean. In January 2010, the lovely white villa miraculously survived the disastrous earthquake. We meet some of its guests, most of them writers, artists, and filmmakers: Charles Najman, Joergen Leth, and Cameron Brohman. During their stay, these guests make Haitian friends: Edwidge Danticat, Issa and Mano El Saieh, André Pierre, Aubelin Jolicoeur, Batraville. The manager of the Oloffson, Richard Morse, takes us to an exciting voodoo ceremony in Jacmel and to Madame Lehmann’s voodoo museum in Pétionville. A mixture of footage of the hotel and Haiti before and after the earthquake evokes a fascinating picture of this magical place and of the vibrant Haitian cultural scene, while taking into account the dire living conditions in Haiti.

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