Eat, for This Is My Body is powerful and lyrical surrealism. A political and allegorical pamphlet about Haiti, the fatherland of director Michelange Quay’s parents. Once Haïti was the great coffee and sugar producer for Europe, a rich colony that became independent of France in 1804 after an army of Napoleon’s soldiers was beaten by the proud, black population that had thrown off the yoke of slavery in 1791. The past 200 years did not bring much solace to Haiti: American occupation, gruesome dictatorship and corruption. Now Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where underdevelopment, civil war, crime, voodoo and illiteracy seem to be inextricably entangled and child labour cannot be distinguished from slavery.
That is the country to which the minutes long majestic opening scene of Eat… leads us. From the blue ocean, we fly in, over housing on the coast, over a slum neighbourhood, getting deeper and deeper into the country, to an old plantation. Quay focuses on the colonial heritage, on the age old contradictions – ‘relations’ – between black and white. In a large house, we see in stylised, melancholy tableaux vivants for instance the poetic considerations of a very pale old lady on her sick bed. Later, her daughter receives a group of young black kids. The servant, like the rest of the cast played by amateurs, mysteriously changes into an albino. —IFFR
Born 1974. In 1997, he earned a Master Degree in Film Directing of the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, at New York University, NYC, USA. In 2002, he was chosen for Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation Residence for Directors, in Paris, France. It was here where he began writing the script for EAT, FOR THIS IS MY BODY.
In 2004, he directs THE GOSPEL OF THE CREOLE PIG. A short-film in 35mm which was presented in the Official Selection in the Cannes Film Festival 2004, and won Best Short Film at Locarno, Stockholm, Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Turin and Tokyo Con Can Film Festival. —Split Film Festival
Like a distant Haitian relative of Pollet's Mediterranee, or something by Resnais. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm sure I liked it, maybe even loved it. Most of my pleasure came in trying to understand the world that Quay is showing us, and trying to see it through his eyes, and then realizing his vision is so unique that I would never be able to do so. Whatever else may be said about this, it is impressive.