We were in Haiti during the earthquake and were, just like our Haitian friends, deeply shocked by the experience. To those of us, who made it through, the notion of ‘being alive’ was now superseded by that of ‘being survivors’. Our tender flesh and fragile bones had escaped the destruction of collapsing concrete.
This documentary is an intrinsic response to that experience.
We were in Europe after the earthquake and were, just like our Haïtian friends, deeply shocked by the news broadcasted on the international channels. Haïtians were either shown as victims or as violent savages, but almost never as humans with a voice.
We decided to show the strenght, the solidarity and the dignity of the Haïtians.
Back in Haïti, what struck us on finding our friends was that everyone wanted to know where the other one had been and what he’d been doing when the quake struck; what each one had done in the minutes, hours and days that followed. It was, as if some supernatural force had pressed the ‘pause’ button and then, everything changed, forever; a dismal picture. The “where and when” of one’s person determined whether or not one would survive. It is a moment everyone continues to live and relive.
We were impressed by the repeated questions, always the same, taking on a collective dimension: Where were you on Jan. 12? Where were you after that? What is this strange world we wake up to of unreal daytime and nightmarish nighttime? Are we alive, are we dead? Do the living run among the dead or the dead run among the living?
So why not go in search of these dreams of our Haitian friends? Their dreams, their nightmares, their world after the earthquake, the dream as a deconstruction site of trauma and a repository of hope. And thanks to 10 well chosen encounters, where we allow people to speak freely on what they have lived through, we could make our film.
We therefore meet people of flesh and bone, rather than the silent victims or “violent savages” of the Western news reports. Nor are our protagonists heroes, but simply people who, in spite of the grief and loss, try to keep moving forward and refuse to accept that Haiti has become a land of the living dead.