Ghosts of Cité Soleil

Section: Documentaries
Directed by: Asger Leth

Denmark, USA, 2006

Dir.: Asger Leth
Scr.: Asger Leth
Phot.: Frederik Jacobi, Asger Leth, Milos Loncarevic
Editor: Adam Nielsen
Cast: Winson „2Pac” Jean, Wyclef Jean, James „Bily” Petit Frère, Éleonore „Lele” Senlis
Format: 35 mm
88 mins
Contact: Danish Film Insitute

In the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil, 2Pac and Bily are among a cadre of notorious gang leaders whose foot soldiers are known as chimères, or ghosts. Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide reputedly employed the chimères to attack his opponents.

2Pac and Bily have big aspirations that sometimes collide. They both fall for the same woman, Lele, a French relief worker, she is drawn to them even as she recognizes their power over life and death. 2Pac and Bily sometimes skirmish with each other’s soldiers. When everyone carries a gun and a spliff, tensions can escalate in a heartbeat. Allegiances constantly shift: between 2Pac and Bily, gang leaders and politicians, Aristide and the rebels. Bily wants to go legit and join Aristide’s political party. 2Pac is fed up with Aristide, he dreams of giving up guns and battling with rap lyrics instead.

“Director Asger Leth had a remarkable access to this gang culture in the months leading up to Aristide’s overthrow in 2004. The resulting film is a Caribbean epic of family, love and violence. The camera achieves an astonishing intimacy, from bedroom romance to street warfare. The colours are saturated, with heat radiating from every surface.” (Thom Powers)

See also:
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