Considers how popular Haitian films not only provide entertainment but also help audiences in Haiti and the diaspora think through daily challenges.
In Haitian Creole, bay lodyans means to tell stories to an audience, and more generally, to entertain. This book is the first to analyze popular contemporary Haitian films, looking especially at how they respond to the needs and desires of Haitian audiences in and beyond Haiti. Produced between 2000 and 2018 and largely shot with digital cameras and sometimes cellphones, these films focus on the complexities of community, nostalgia, belonging, identity, and the emotional landscapes of exile and diaspora. They reflect sociopolitical and cultural issues related to family, language, im/migration, religion, gender, sexuality, and economic hardship. Using storytelling and other less traditionally "academic" techniques, Cécile Accilien advances Haitian epistemological frameworks. Bay Lodyans integrates terms and concepts from Haitian culture, such as jerans and kafou (derived from the French words for "to manage" and "crossroads," respectively) and includes interviews with Haitian filmmakers, actors, and scholars in order to challenge the dominance of Western theoretical approaches and perspectives.
Cécile Accilien is Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University. She is the coeditor (with Valérie K. Orlando) of Teaching Haiti: Strategies for Creating New Narratives.
"This book makes a significant contribution to Haitian studies, film studies, and Africana studies. Not only does it cover a topic that has not been addressed elsewhere—Haitian popular film—but it does so in an interdisciplinary way that accounts for the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality." — Régine Jean-Charles, author of Looking for Other Worlds: Black Feminism and Haitian Fiction