Full Duck Productions

Maryse Condé Speaks from the Heart

Maryse Condé

This clip is taken from the 48-minute video, Maryse Condé Speaks from the Heart, produced by Mosaic Media Arts and videotaped and edited by Full Duck Productions. The video presents an interview with this gifted and prolific writer from Guadaloupe, in the French West Indies. The clip shows Condé in her New York apartment as she responds to questions about the problems she has encountered as a writer.

This masterful author gave this interview where she spoke about her childhood, her passion for honesty, her compassion for women, her love of family and her respect for the craft of writing. She describes her experiences with racism in France and the U.S. and the controversy her books have caused.

Challenge: Interview Maryse Condé, the masterful novelist from Guadeloupe, one of the Caribbean islands in the French West Indies, who has written 14 novels, 5 plays, numerous collections of essays and recently retired from teaching literature at Columbia University. Bring out the global aspect of her life and career, living in several parts of Africa, France and the United States, teaching in West Africa, France, and Virginia, California and New York in the United States, and writing about all parts of the world and many different cultures. Address the importance of her journey becoming a writer and the use of language in her work. Also address the topics of racism and controversy in her life.

Solution: Full Duck Productions, director, and Mosaic Media, producer, conducted the interview with Condé in June, 2002. We interviewed her and her translator and husband, Richard Philcox, at their apartment in New York City. She spoke of her childhood, her passion for honesty, her compassion for women, her love of family and her respect for the craft of writing. She describes her experiences with racism in France and the US and the controversy her books have caused. She ends the tape with a dramatic reading from her latest work, Le coeur à rire et à pleurer. We used family photos and African artwork to illustrate the video extensively.

What the Critics Say

… Seeing the videos on Maryse Condé and Raphaël Confiant helped to make the French Caribbean come alive for my students. The division of the Condé video into usefully labeled segments meant that I could easily weave them into my lectures. The students enjoyed visualizing this impressive author and greatly benefited from her thoughts on the variety of subjects discussed. Dr. Bonnie Thomas, European Languages & Studies, The University of Western Australia

… I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the video program Maryse Condé Speaks from the Heart. The conversation between you and Condé on camera was a beautiful duet between two intelligent women–one white and one black–with no trace of the cynicism of racial antipathy or disingenuousness that one often encounters in interviews with a multi-racial cast. As a US American seeped in the discomforting quagmire of race in this country, I found that your presentation provided a view of normalcy around issues of race and class that are so sensitively explored in Condé’s work. Felicia Dryden, Film Producer, Founder of www.sharedhistory.org