In this interview with the world-renowned French Caribbean poet and political activist from Martinique, Aimé Césaire speaks about his student days in Paris, his growth as a poet and politician, his passion for the Martinique landscape, his battle against assimilation of the French Caribbean people by France, and his seminal masterpiece, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land.
In the video, Césaire speaks about his passion for the island landscape, his student days in Paris, his friendship with other notable poets, and his creation of SERMAC, an art institute promoting Martinique's heritage. He describes his battle against the assimilation of his people by France and gives a dynamic reading from his seminal prose poem, Cahier d'un retour au pays natal.
Challenge: Interview the world-renowned French Caribbean poet and political activist from Martinique, who was Mayor of Fort-de-France, capital of Martinique, for 56 years. Display the grandeur of this man who has been a giant in the worlds of poetry and politics as he retires at the age of 89. Present his relationship to the island, the people, and the spirit which moved him to write and become a world leader.
Solution: Full Duck Productions, director, and Mosaic Media Arts, producer, conducted the interview in the comfort of Césaire's office on November 5, 2001. We used cutaways of his awards and mementos and collected original video material of historic and scenic sites around the island. We researched background information and worked it into a script that wove together his words and the importance of the events of his life.
What the Critics Say
... managed to give the essential outlines of Césaire, the man and his work...in a lively and appealing fashion. Jacqueline Leiner, editor, scholar, professor emerita of French Caribbean Literature, University of Provence in Aix
... shows a side of him that could not possibly be picked up from written work alone--luminous, supple, with the generosity of spirit that is the hallmark of a fearless intellect. Ron Sukenick, author, professor emeritus of English, University of Colorado, Boulder
... provides a living voice of one of the greatest writers of both the colonial and post-colonial period...the geographical location and the island's topography, the history and politics of a fascinating people, as well as Césaire's own family, elite education, travels and political career all came together to create one of the most remarkable minds in Francophone literature. Scott Juall, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
... The first time I listened to this documenary, I worried a bit about the interviewer's French accent, though her sentences were excellent. However, my studnets told me very clearly that the French was easy to understand and that they derived much from the interview. We read excerpts of the Cahier after seeing it, and their comments made it even clearer that they had benefited a great deal from your work. My colleague's experience with your documentary on Raphaël Confiant was not dissimilar. Thanks and congratulations! Jean-Jacques Poucel, Assistant Professor of French, Yale University
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