Haitian Film, Kafou Is Cinematic Gold

By Rogan Smith |
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Rogan Smith poses with Kafou film poster

See, this is exactly why I love films.

I haven’t reviewed a movie since God knows when, but after watching a screening of the 2017 thriller/comedy, Kafou at The Island House Cinema this weekend, I just knew I had to.

The Island House Film Festival screened the film on Saturday. 

If I’m being completely honest, I was there to support a film director friend of mine, whose short doc was debuting before Kafou. But, I’m so glad I stuck around. It was so worth it. 

A TALENTED BUNCH. L-R: Filmmaker, Lavado Stubbs, Rogan Smith; Kafou screenwriter, Gilbert Mirambeau Jr.; filmmaker, Neville Smith; Bahamian actress, Chrystal Bethell and Kafou director, Bruno Mourral.
Gilbert and Rogan pose for a quick photo. This man is so humble. What a wonderful spirit.

The Plot Was Sooo Good

So, to the plot. Two friends are hired to deliver an unknown package. They are given three very specific rules: never roll down the windows, never open the trunk and finally, don’t stop the car for any reason. 

I read that plot and immediately knew this film was going to be special. 

I love rules. Because every time a rule is broken, it immediately puts the audience on the edge of their seats. 

The film is set in Port-au-Prince at night and takes the protagonists through a series of situations that force them to make life-changing decisions. 

The movie, which is in Creole with English subtitles, highlights the various levels of corruption in Haiti and the desperation people feel just to survive. 

Nothing is as it seems in this film and I love it like that. The film effortlessly captures the mood of Port-au-Prince and manages to weave in lots of music without it becoming a distraction. 

I literally felt like I was driving in the car with the protagonists as they tore down through the deserted streets. 

How Did Haitians Respond

The entire cast delivered strong performances. There were funny moments and many moments the audience won’t see coming. It was cinematic gold from start to finish. The audience in the theatre gave the film a huge applause.

Director Bruno Mourral and screenwriter, Gilbert Mirambeau Jr. were on hand for a Q&A after the screening and noted that Haitians had mixed feelings about the film. The bourgeoisie felt it depicted Haiti in a negative light, while inner-city Haitians felt it was spot on. 

Kafou was hands down one of the best movies I have ever watched in my life. It was pure cinematic gold. It even gave me a greater appreciation of the Creole language. It’s so colorful. 

I will be purchasing this film for my collection. I have already encouraged my friends to go and watch it. You should, too. You won’t be disappointed. 

Discussing Kafou during a Q&A session.

Neville and I take a quick selfie. His short film about Bahamian limbo king, “Action Jackson” got rave reviews.
I got the chance to meet this beautiful actress, Chrystal Bethell. She sat next to me in the theatre to watch Kafou. Super nice and very down to earth.

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