Dominican cinema has made its debut at the 49th Huelva Ibero-American Film Festival (southern Spain) with “Perejil”, a harsh story about the massacre of thousands of Haitians in the Dominican Republic in 1937whose screening in this Spanish city provoked a standing ovation for several minutes once it was over.
A reaction from the public last night that for the Dominican actor Ramón Emilio Candelario makes “you realize that the work you have done is worthwhile”, after working on a story with which people in Spain identify, because in those same years “two of the ugliest dictatorships ever known” were lived through.
The film, directed by his compatriot José María Cabral, places the viewer in 1937, near the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where a young Haitian named Marie is expecting her first child with Frank and, despite the growing racial tensions in the area, they live a peaceful life as they prepare for the baby’s arrival.
One night, distant screams wake her up and Frank runs out to investigate, not knowing that the immediate execution of all Haitians on Dominican soil has been ordered, in a story based on real events that were never investigated or for which the families of The victims received no compensation.
“I knew about the historical event and when they gave me this project I saw that it was something impressive”, said the director, in addition to pointing out that it is “one of those roles that changes your perception of life”.
Cabral recognized that filming “was quite a challenge, because everything happened in one night, and there were scenes that required a lot of preparation, with many people, which were quite epic.”
The director indicated that it was a project “very special and very delicate because of the type of story that was being told”, since “just telling the story generates impact, but when you see it with scenes and see the conflicts that are shown on the screen, that moves the viewer”.
The film competes for the Colón de Oro at the Huelva Festival and represents a new work by a Dominican film director, screenwriter and producer who began making films when he was 16 years old and whose first feature film, “Checkmate” (2011), was selected as the Dominican option for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood.
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The harsh history of repression against Haitians in the Dominican film “Perejil” raises the public in Spain