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Overall Rating
4.1

Awesome40%
Worth A Look: 30%
Just Average: 30%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

3 reviews, 2 user ratings


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Agronomist, The
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by Jay Seaver

"Dominique smiles much more than one tends to think of an activist smiling"
4 stars

Demme and Jean Dominique, the Agronomist of the title, were friends, and this documentary reflects that - any faults the man may have had are glossed over. Though he's presented as a man of the people, one can easily deduce that he was still a man of some means, as bespoken by his education, endeavors, et al. Even in Haiti, buying a radio station costs money.

Still, it's tough not to like Dominique. As we get to know the man, via news footage, interviews with his family and friends, and videotaped conversations he had with Demme during one of his exiles in New York, we're struck by a number of things - first, that he's very intelligent. He studied agronomy in Paris, he speaks English, French, and Creole fluently, and has expertise in fields as diverse as agronomy, radio journalism, and film. He's very passionate about the fight for human rights in his country, and is not afraid to speak his mind, even when it means criticizing Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected leader who winds up falling short of his ideals.

What struck me most, though, is that he smiles much more than one tends to think of an activist smiling. Most political documentaries, or news coverage, is full of dour people making dour pronouncements. Dominique, though, seems to take great joy in his work, in art, and in the people he attempted to help. He's also unusually content to be a journalist - though he reports and campaigns vigorously, he never (at least, in this film) takes or is apparently offered a place in the government upon his returns from exile and the overthrow of various dictatorships.

I came away liking Dominique quite a bit. It's a good, if flattering, portrait, and also does a good job in illuminating the situation in Haiti over the course of Dominique's life.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8562&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/03/04 19:39:36
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
This film is listed in our political documentary series. For more in the Political Documentary series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/14/04 Daphnee A must see to understand the US govt.'s plot with Haiti's elite to oppress a nation. 5 stars
4/10/04 Ren A revelation 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Jonathan Demme

Written by
  (documentary)

Cast
  Jean Dominique



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