Royal Bonbon

Royal Bonbon


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

A vagrant, Chacha, wanders the streets of Cap-Haiten telling anyone who will listen that he is the reincarnation of Henri Christophe, the ex-slave who liberated Haiti in 1804.

Driven out of town by a sceptical populace, Chacha takes refuge in the ruins of a colonial chateau along with his only disciple, a young boy named Thimothee.

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Repeating his claims in the next village, Chacha finds a more receptive audience from people who have been waiting for the return of the king. But as Chacha sets up his new kingdom in the chateau, power goes to his head and soon Thimothee is compelled to mount a revolt against his former master.

Can there be any community on earth that has still to make a film? We had the Nepalese with Himalaya and then the Inuit with Atanarjuat. Now it is Haiti's turn with this French-Canadian co-production.

Though one cannot but admire writer/director Charles Najman for his commitment to the project, which was obviously a labour of love, the end result is unfortunately uninvolving unless one has a interest in and knowledge of Haitian history and culture. Certain points of comparison and reference can be identified - Alfred Jarry's Ubu plays, Werner Herzog's Aguirre: Wrath of God and Bill Nunn's Ganga And Hess for instance - yet only at the expense of simplifying and distorting Royal Bonbon.

Reviewed on: 15 Aug 2003
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A vagrant lays claim to the kingdom of Haiti.

Director: Charles Najman

Writer: Charles Najman

Starring: Dominique Batraville, Verlus Delorme, Amboise Thomson, Erol Josué

Year: 2002

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: Canada/Haiti


EIFF 2003

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If you like this, try:

Aguirre: The Wrath Of God