** 1985, The National Film Board of Canada. A documentary about an OXFAM-Quebec desalination project. 26 minutes.
(See information on Black Sugar. This film is also distributed by Indiana University.)
Sale: $160.00 Rent: $30.00 26 minutes, color.
Grande Saline is a village on the sea near where the Artibonite River empties into the Gulf of Gonave. This film documents a small desalination project supported by OXFAM-Quebec from its conception until a point where it is nearly finished, and refreshingly for this sort of documentary, not quite successfully. The middling success of the project lends a credibility to the film.
Grande Saline is also made The National Film Board of Canada and suffers some of the same filming defects which plague Black Sugar. The black faces of people being interviewed are often only black silhouettes in the bright sun of Haiti. One would think an organization of its stature would have camera people who could film black people! On the other hand this film is much more colorfully and actively filmed than Black Sugar. Rather than long moments of filming people being interviewed, the camera roams around the village giving up a great sense of the life in small town Haiti. While interviews or explanations are given in the voice, the camera takes us to children at play, dancing women at a festival, a market scene and other daily activities. Another refreshing aspect of the film is that Creole interviews are often recorded for 10-15 seconds before translations begin, giving one a nice ring of this beautiful Haitian language and rhythms before the English cuts in.
This documentary is useful for those involved in development work in Haiti. It demonstrates how one can work with Haitian people, giving them an important leadership in doing their own development. At the same time it helps the foreign developers develop a sense of patience and willingness to adapt to local conditions and environments.
Reviewed by Bob Corbett
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