Wri/Dir: Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich | US Doc 74′
The French West Indies’ island of Martinique really comes alive in this evocative portrait of Suzanne Césaire (1915-66) with its sultry soundtrack from Sabine McCalla.
Writer, teacher, devotee of Afro-Surrealism and leading proponent of the Négritude movement, Césaire was also a mother of six who considered writing to be of utmost importance in her life. Typically she never promoted herself as such, and consequently seems to have slipped through the cracks of history.
American filmmaker Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich has alighted on her subject in this immersive new documentary that includes a treasure trove of interviews with Césaire’s living children and family.
The Ballad is a bid to explore the writer’s career and legacy as it drifts elegantly through the past and present in an episodic and often enigmatic reverie based on the truth, and brought to life by the award-winning actor Zita Hanrot, herself a new mother, as she prepares to flesh out the character of Césaire .
Sadly – as is often the case – more is known of Suzanne’s husband Aimé, a political figure. But nonetheless Hunt-Ehlich succeeds in raising the profile of this astonishing anti-colonial activist who blazed a trail for feminism during the early part of the twentieth century. An enlightening and worthwhile documentary feature debut in this year’s Tiger Competition at Rotterdam International Film Festival. @MeredithTaylor
ROTTERDAM FILM FESTIVAL 2024 | TIGER COMPETITION 2024