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28137: Lally: Heading South (Vers le Sud), (fwd)

From: Reynald Lally <concordehaiti@yahoo.com>

  Hi Folks :
Christiane and I really enjoyed this film last night , very much recommended.

  The beach scenes were filmed in the DR,the Urban in PAP.
  The Artwork they choose for the backround was recent( Flags from the 90's) ,
but I assume the majority of the public will not know

  TORONTO?Surprisingly, Charlotte Rampling, who has taken roles in more than 60
films during her 40-year career, has never received an Academy Award
nomination. Less surprisingly, considering that she virtually abandoned
English-language films 20 years ago, she has won four César Award nominations
(the French Oscar), an honorary César, and six European Film Award nominations.

  Rampling, who turned 61 in February, was born in England and educated in
France and England. Her first major role was in 1967?s Georgy Girl, but she was
in Italy making movies the following year and began her lengthy French career
in the mid-1970s. When she did make English-language films during that period,
they received very mixed reviews. The films ranged from the good (The Verdict)
to the bad (Foxtrot) and the ugly (Orca, a Newfoundland-shot film that was best
known for a scene in which an Orca snaps off Bo Derek?s leg).
  In her latest film, Heading South (Vers le Sud), a Canada-France coproduction
set in Haiti in the early 1980s, she plays Ellen, a Boston sex tourist whose
boy toy is a teenaged Haitian named Legba (Ménothy Cesar.) (It opens in
Vancouver on Friday, March 3.) Also in Haiti is Brenda (Karen Young), who
abandoned her husband after returning from Haiti with him on a previous
vacation. She is back to see Legba and resents his involvement with other
women. None of the women who holiday in Haiti (Quebec actor Louise Portal is
Sue, the third main female character) know much about the country?s struggles
with dictatorships and poverty. It?s a life that Legba lives when he leaves the
security of the beach and one that begins to creep into paradise.
  The manipulative Ellen is not a particularly likable character. In fact,
Rampling says that she wasn?t sure she even wanted to inhabit her skin. ?I
didn?t like her at all when I was reading the screenplay for the first time,?
she says in a Toronto hotel room during last year?s film festival. ?But the
whole premise of the story was so powerful and there was an evocation of so
many levels of intent as far as Ellen was concerned that I became
fascinated?but in a rather perverse way, because I found her very difficult as
a person and I still do.?
  The movie was mostly shot on the other side of the island on which Haiti is
located, in the Dominican Republic. However some second-unit work was done in
Haiti, and many of the members of the cast and crew were Haitian. Rampling says
that Ellen and her friends make a conscious choice to be ignorant about the
things that are happening around them.
  ?I think Ellen chooses not to be affected because she doesn?t want to be
overtaken by the chaos and torment and despair. In fact, I think she represents
part of the paradox of the Haiti of that time where you had such distances
between wealth and poverty. We were working with Haitians and I was talking to
Haitians all the time and they are extraordinary people. They are not
uncultured. They have extremely fine analytical minds, but they can?t get
anything right in their country. There is complete anarchy. I think there are
metaphors for that in the story and in Ellen?s character because she, too, is a
very intelligent woman who refuses to go near it [the chaos] because it will
bring up things that she can?t bear to bring up, all the tragedies that the
story addresses. She is herself, in essence, a figure of tragedy.?
  So are her friends. The film?s director, Laurent Cantet, tells his story
through the three women at the centre of the story and one of the Haitian
characters by allowing them to talk to the camera. The women attempt to
rationalize their behaviour in Haiti through the monologues. Rampling says that
although there are always people who feel that characters talking to the camera
will take the audience out of the movie, it was necessary to bring it from the
novel to the screen.
  ?You like it or you don?t like it, and you feel the film warrants it or not.
think the film is enhanced by it because I feel you know the characters better
because of it. It is a style. It was not created by the screenplay. It is in
the book on which it is based. He [Montreal-based novelist Dany Laferrière] was
fascinated by the idea of three women talking in monologues. I think it is a
powerful element of the film. It is almost as if the three women are one in
this film. They are a feminine bloc. I like that very much.?
  She was also happy to bond with her costars. She says that shooting in the
Dominican Republic was not a lot of fun but that it was made easier by the
relationship that developed between the three leads.
  ?I knew Louise through [the Canadian films] Les Invasions Barbares and Le
Déclin de l?Empire Américain, but I didn?t really know anything about Karen. We
are three very different characters. We are three different parts of womankind,
in a way, but we immediately bonded as people because we were away from home
and the conditions were difficult. It was supposed to be this sunny island but
we had terrible weather and there were a lot of problems, so it helped a lot
that we were there together. I like to be able to interact with other women who
I find interesting.?
  International audiences are increasingly finding Rampling?s roles to be of
interest to them. In a business that sees many female actors finding it
difficult to get work in their 40s and 50s, Rampling is busier than ever. Since
she turned 55 in 2000, she has appeared in 18 film and television productions
and has won all but one of her César and European film awards. She says that
she sees her career as being divided into ?chunks?, adding that she came to
that realization during a ceremony held at Colorado?s Telluride Film Festival
last September.
  ?People are discovering you in a whole different episode of your life,? she
says. ?I am lucky to have different chunks where I could incarnate myself in a
different way. At the Telluride tribute, they showed 15 films, starting with
Georgy Girl, and clips of different films, and I watched my life through these
clips. It was sort of fascinating because I had never really dwelt upon my
career. I hadn?t written a book about my life, so I have just been going
forward and not thinking back. But it helped me a lot, actually. It sort of all
gelled into a kind of coherence. It was the idea of the longevity of my career
and where I began and where I am now and the fact that I actually like acting.
I had never really watched my films at all because they make me very
uncomfortable. But watching that was quite beneficial, at four or five minutes
each. I still don?t like to watch my films. I saw Vers le Sud in Venice and I
was very disturbed. So, I guess watching yourself is best in retrospect.?

Reynald Lally

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