07/27/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

New Line Home Cinema presents
The Agronomist (2005)

"I have no weapon other than my journalism, my microphone and my unquenchable faith as a militant for true change." 
- Jean Dominique

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: June 13, 2005

Director: Jonathan Demme

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violent images and brief nudity
Run Time: 01h:30m:48s
Release Date: June 07, 2005
UPC: 794043785320
Genre: documentary


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- AB+B D-

DVD Review

Though right in our hemisphere, for many Americans Haiti and its political turmoil in recent decades has been dimly understood and has not commanded much attention; it got little media traction, for without an easily digestible storyline, there's too much else to report on that's safe and titillating and inconsequential. Filmmaker Jonathan Demme has made an impassioned documentary about Haiti, and tells the story of many of the sad developments in that country's history through the prism of one man: Jean Dominique, the founder and moving force behind Radio Haiti, the country's one independent source of news. Aside from his features, Demme has put together a substantial body of documentary work, including concert films (Stop Making Sense no doubt is my favorite of these) and the very moving Cousin Bobby, about, well, his cousin, a priest. He brings that same sense of passion, twinned with political commitment, to this project, and has produced a film that both celebrates the life of its central figure and provides useful and necessary context about the troubles in Haiti.

It is, though, a pretty awful title for a movie of any sort, and it isn't even an especially apt one for this film. Though he was an agronomist (i.e., agricultural scientist) by training, Jean Dominique's story is about his radio station, and its travails and triumphs during decades of turbulence. Dominique was schooled in France, and while a student was taken by the nouvelle vague, by the power of film—he wanted to establish some sort of infrastructure for a Haitian film industry, but was quickly shut down by the dictatorial government of the Duvaliers for being too subversive. This led him to the even more progressive world of radio—he established Radio Haiti, the one media outlet not controlled by the government. In our time now of runaway brides and Scott and Laci and this week's celebrity trial of the century, we don't usually think of broadcasting as a subversive act—but simply reporting the unvarnished truth to the Haitian people was a progressive, even dangerous thing for Dominique to be doing. His station was a shoestring operation in an astonishingly poor country, and his success is a testament to the power of basic ideas like democracy and human rights.

The years of rule of the Duvaliers and their militia, the TonTon Macoute, are some of the darkest days; Dominique and his wife, Michele Montas, had to spend two long periods in exile from their native land. Over the years Dominique and Demme seemingly became friends, and the interview footage with Dominique is candid, and shows the evolution of Haitian politics—the dread of military juntas, the hopefulness that came with the election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the persistence of Dominique and Montas to return and return to their home, to rebuild the radio station left in tatters and strafed with bullets. And Dominique is a charismatic character, too, unsurprisingly—his oddly explosive speech patterns in English can be a little disorienting, but they aptly carry his sense of moral outrage, along with his persistent faith in the good sense and wisdom of the people of Haiti.

Dominique, finally, was truly a martyr; he was gunned down and killed outside of the Radio Haiti offices in April 2000, a crime for which no one has yet been arrested. More recent interview footage with his wife provides much of the necessary connective tissue for Demme's film; its most moving moment may be when, after a month of silence after its founder's murder, Radio Haiti returns to the air, with Montas at the microphone, giving a restrained and powerful speech about Dominique being with them still, almost the Tom Joad of a free Haiti. There couldn't be a more apt elegy for the horrible end to this admirable life. 

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The source material frequently looks bruised, but the transfer here is a thoroughly professional one.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchno
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Some hiss and crackle, but as with the video, what you'd expect with this sort of source material; it's certainly all audible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Only subtitles.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Jonathan Demme's character profile is at once mournful and celebratory, conveying a rich sense of Jean Dominique and the power of his Radio Haiti; and, not incidentally, the film serves as a useful historical primer for those who may not have been giving the awful developments in Haiti the attention they so richly merit.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store