Serenade for Haiti
Film - Feature | September 15 | 7:30 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Music is our refuge, says a student at the Sainte Trinité Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. With music . . . we feel we are in another world, far from troubles. Owsley Browns vibrant documentary recognizes the troubles but celebrates the refuge, testifying to the role that music can play in creating community and sustaining hope under the most difficult of circumstances. Shot in Port-au-Prince over a period of years both before and after the 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and reduced much of the city to rubble, Serenade for Haiti finds a locus of continuity at Sainte Trinité, which has been training young people in classical European and Haitian musical traditions since the 1950s. Replete with vivid images and sounds, the film focuses on interviews with studentsmost of them poor, some orphaned by political violenceand their teachers, many former students themselves. All speak eloquently about how the discipline of music has helped them discover their own voices and value in the world. After the quake, with the schools stately white buildings in ruins, lessons and practice continue outdoors, maintaining a rhythm of resilience. In one teachers words, The country is destroyed. All the buildings are destroyed. Music must go on. Life goes on.
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