Movie Review: The Agronomist
Alternate Title: The Impossible Dream
Story: Democracy and Haiti are usually not two words that one often thinks of in the same sentence. After seeing this absorbing film it will remain just that -- an impossible dream. Seasoned director Jonathan Demme met our protagonist, Jean Dominique, in the early 90's while shopping for art in Haiti.
Jean Dominique was an indefatigable soul whose original vocation working with the soil and feeding the Haitians did not come to pass. So he fed their souls instead. His passion for democracy, human rights and freedom in Haiti was his life's blood. Through the power of his own radio station he broadcast ideals and ideas never before heard in Haiti in the language of the people, Creole, not the elitist French of the upper class. His beliefs ultimately led to his assassination in 2000.
Demme's homage to this spirited man is uplifting, heartbreaking and frustrating. Anyone interested in politics, like me, will find this film to be a 'must see.'
It was also very interesting to get a refresher course in our own government's involvement on foreign soil and also a bit of a jolt to see Lakhdar Brahimi in the file footage as one of the brokers for the peace accord (failed) who was sent to Haiti in the late 90's. I hope his failed experience in Haiti will help him in his new mission in Iraq.
Acting: Not applicable in a documentary.
Predilection: I am a political junkie and love most documentaries. Anyone else out there listening to Air America Radio these days?
Food: No time to eat during a revolution.
Soundtrack: A wonderful and unobtrusive soundtrack by Wyclef Jean and Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis.
Theater Audience: Four other political junkies and us.
Squirm Scale: The Ton Ton Matoute made me squirm.
Tissue Usage: I had a few tears in my eyes at film's end.
Oscar Worthy: Why not?
Big Screen or Rental: Support your local documentarian and go to see it on the big screen. It is very relevant in today's ongoing struggle in Haiti. For some other Jonathan Demme films, try: Melvin and Howard, Stop Making Sense, Beloved, Philadelphia, Cousin Bobby, The Silence of the Lambs, Married to the Mob, Swimming to Cambodia and Something Wild.
Length: 90 minutes.
LOBO HOWLS: 7