White Darkness, The

Director: Richard Stanley

UK 2003. Colour. French with English subtitles. 49mins.

A tough lyrical journey that documents the deadlock in present day Haiti, between its inhabitants and the occupying American military forces Anthropologist and cult film-maker Richard Stanley documents the practice and the oppression of voodoo in present-day Haiti. In the tradition of his descendent explorer Henry Morton Stanley, but with the advantage of the hand-held camera, he presents an unflinching look at the often shocking practices of voodoo. What becomes apparent is the centrality of voodoo to Haitian culture, history and politics and its ongoing importance in fighting against everyday American military oppression. In The White Darkness, Stanley follows a pregnant Manbo priestess, Edelle, and a sorceror, Altes Paul, on their journey to the holy mountain, the seat of the god Oguon Fera and a ritual site. Altes Paul’s story is fascinating. Having sold his soul to the devil and acquired life long prosperity, his powers have become legend in Haiti. His ‘death magic’ – an ability to kill – has made him notorious. Voodoo is what makes the ‘past present’ for Haitians, who consider the current military occupation to be a continuation of previous political struggles.

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