Man by the Shore | Chicago Reader

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This engrossing 1993 Haitian drama by world-class filmmaker Raoul Peck (Lumumba) treats a subject he knows firsthand: the terrors of life under dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier in the 1960s. Told in flashbacks, it centers on a girl (Jennifer Zubar) forced into hiding with her two older sisters in their grandmother's attic after their dissident parents have fled the country. The grandmother (Toto Bissainte) tries to buy their passage out of Port-au-Prince and otherwise subvert the thuggish Tontons Macoutes, which draws the authorities' attention; as the brutal militia commander, Jean-Michel Martial is as mesmerizing as a cobra. Armando Marco's agile camera serves the movie's themes—that childhood memories, like official histories, are incomplete, and that evil times demand action as well as vigilance. In French with subtitles. 103 min.

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