A well meaning and well intentioned documentary doesn’t always make for the greatest movie, as evidenced by Dan Shannon and Isabelle Depelteau’s surprisingly predominantly white-centric look at the rebuilding effort in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Getting in on the ground with the organizations and volunteers who are funding and actively working on the Haitian relief efforts (including Sean Penn, whose J/P HRO figures prominently into the film), Shannon and Depelteau show the hindrances to a process that should not still be taking years to complete and take the media to task for only reporting negatively on even the most positive of progressions towards rebuilding the island in the wake of extreme devastation.
Haiti Untold isn’t a titular misnomer, per say, and it’s really cynical to attack a film that’s obviously trying to do something good to change the world. It’s just a shame that it can never feel like anything more than a mediocre infomercial for organizations like World Vision and the J/P HRO than an actual “untold” story. Most of the people profiled are already privileged people, who it’s granted are putting their time and money into the reconstruction of the country, but the actual people who lived through the disaster are barely given a voice, often relegated to only brief anecdotal moments before another white guy pops up to plead for more money, governmental help, and understanding.
I get where Shannon and Depelteau are coming from and I agree with it completely, but this is something that would be more at home on TV on a weekend afternoon. If there’s one important lesson to take from this, it’s to remember that until we help the poverty in Haiti, reconstruction will continue to move at a snail’s pace.
Friday, February 15th, 5:00pm, Carlton Cinema