Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck’s last work, the feature documentary Assistance Mortelle (Fatal Assistance), saw a limited theatrical release here in the USA, opening at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center exclusively, in February.
An exposé that offered the world a look at the international community’s response and reaction to the devastating 2010 earthquake Haiti suffered, as seen through the eyes of Haitians in Haiti, the 100-minute film (culled from a total of over 500 hours of footage) was shot over 2 years, starting soon after the January 2010 earthquake, through last year.
It addresses the reported billions of dollars in foreign aid that were said to have been poured into Haiti relief after the earthquake, although it’s not entirely clear where all that money went, since many are still living in squalor.
While we wait for that film to reach home video platforms so that more of you can see it, the filmmaker has already begun production on what will be his next feature film, which will also be set in post-earthquake Haiti. However,t his one will be scripted, and produced by Velvet Film (Peck’s production company).
We’re told that the film, titled Murder in Pacot, which is currently wrapping up principal photography, is loosely inspired by Italian director, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1968 drama/mystery Teorema, which starred Terence Stamp as a mysterious stranger who injects himself into the home of a wealthy Italian family, and seduces everyone in it, including the maid, which leads to each of them reaching some sort of unique epiphany, leaving viewers (and the characters in the film) wondering who this enigmatic, nameless visitor is: Christ, or the Devil?
Director Pasolini adapted the screenplay of Teorema from his own novel.
Peck’s Murder In Pacot will be set in a plush neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, and will tell the story of an upper middle class couple struggling to rebuild their lives amid the rubbles of their luxurious home, which is now in ruins, after the earthquake, in 2010. In desperate need money, the two intellectuals decide to rent the still-standing part of their mansion to a high-level foreign relief worker of unspecified nationality. The man brings with him a beautiful 17 year old Haitian girl from a modest background, whose malevolence will eventually reveal itself.
Alex Descas and Nigerian-German singer Ayo star as the couple; Thibault Vinçon is the high-level foreign relief worker; and newcomer Haitian actress Lovely Kermonde, is the young girl.
Murder in Pacot was written by famous novelist Lyonel Trouillot, Pascal Bonitzer and Raoul Peck.
The film is being co-produced by ARTE, the World cinema Fund (France) and the European ACP.
The film is being shot on location in what is described as an exceptional location in Haiti: a three level Villa in a neighborhood already totally rebuilt; “A neighborhood I drove through everyday while shooting my documentary “Fatal Assistance,” is today hardly recognizable, and is the location of one of the most styled and selective Haitian hotels,” said Peck. That hotel being Pacot Breeze.
Production is expected to run until mid-May.
Needless to say, I’m most certainly intrigued, and I’m looking forward to what Monsieur Peck has been cooking up for us next!