Upcoming Screenings:

Canal 33. Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals
March 23rd, 23:20

 Nouveaux Regards Film Festival  
30th March-2nd April 2023
Guadeloupe, French Caribbean islands

When Maria’s husband died, she was told to either leave the sugarcane plantation or to work in the only existent job: cutting and planting cane. She decided to work in exchange for  a miserable wage and a rudimentary barrack she and her five children call home. With that, she was accepting a precarious life without electricity, drinkable water and sanitary services. This is how people are stuck in a house provided by the Company, ensuring that no other basic service neither civil rights are provided, maintaining people in a life of misery. The vast extension of a sugarcane plantation in Dominican Republic offers this deal to thousands of Haitian workers. Some struggle to leave – like Maria’s daughter, with few chances of working in a hotel by the coast. Some others are forced to leave – like Leidy and her baby, when her father-in-law retires after 50 years of work. Yet, some others – like Yudelka and Telemin – organize and try to change the miserable situation everyone is living in the cane fields. They are an obstacle that hinders the functioning of the great machine that is the Plantation.

Official selection:

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2021 (World Premiere)
EATSA Art & Tourism Film Festival 2021
Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam 2021
Festival des Libertés 2021
SomCinema 12 2021
Festival del Cinema de Diritti Umani di Napoli 2021
Resistencia Nuestra Memoria: Derechos Humanos 2021
African Diaspora Film Festival 2022
Impacte Festival de Cine i Drets Humans de Catalunya 2022
Philadelphia Latino Film Festival 2022
Festival de Cine Africano de Tarifa 2022
DC Caribbean FilmFest 2022
Latinoamerika i Fokus 2022
 Nouveaux Regards Film Festival, Guadeloupe 2023


Cane Malice is the third film from director Zapata, a native of the Dominican Republic, who is also an architect and visual artist. Both sensibilities are on display in Cane Malice, which pays particular attention to the built environment of the workers, and contrasts it through a series of helicopter (or drone) shots with modern construction in the island’s cities and the luxurious beach resorts that are beloved of tourists. He also finds beauty even in the cane fields where these workers labor for the benefits of others. Above all, he respects the dignity of his subjects, who haven’t let their difficult lives become their only story.

Sarah Boslaugh
Full article: http://theartsstl.com/cane-malice-full-frame-documentary-film-festival/

SUGAR CANE MALICE is reportage of the highest order, not only for the crucial information it imparts, but for the sober, sophisticated way that it imparts it. The film’s subject is the sugar cane industry in the Dominican Republic today. Workers in this industry are effectively slaves, tied to plantations because they need a place to live and because never make enough money to go anywhere else. Juan A. Zapata builds the film through short, pointed interviews, mostly with the workers themselves (though there are also some choices quotes from an economist and a labor organizer); their testimonies about daily life on the plantations accumulate steadily, until the obscenity of slavery becomes overwhelming. Like Claude Lanzmann’s SHOAH (1985), SUGAR CANE MALICE approaches a mammoth dehumanizing system on the ground level, considering what it takes, person by person, to strip a population of its humanity. In one scene, a laborer traverses the plot of land she works to show how much sugar cane she needs to cut to make just twenty dollars in US currency. In another, a young woman notes how quickly her mother had to decide whether she wanted to remarry after becoming a widow because she could only remain in her company-sponsored housing if she was married. Some of the most harrowing revelations come in the form of silent shots: a black, polluted stream abutting a workers’ community where the inhabitants must dispose of their bodily waste; the small shacks that serve as home to three separate families, the living areas demarcated by hanging sheets. The relentlessness of such “little” details communicates how slavery stains every aspect of slaves’ lives, but the film is just as grim when Zapata pauses to consider the bigger, societal picture. As one expert explains, slavery persists in the Dominican Republic in large part because the plantation owners have the government and the courts in their pocket; it’s a worthy reminder that when injustice of this magnitude remains in place, the whole society that permits it is corrupt. (2021, 75 min, Digital Protection)

[Ben Sachs] cinefile.info
Full article: https://www.cinefile.info/cine-list/2022/06/10/061622