Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: Nuance-Deprived "Race" Movie 'Black or White' is Actually About White Frustration (Opens Friday) Review: Nuance-Deprived "Race" Movie 'Black or White' is Actually About White Frustration (Opens Friday) Ava DuVernay & David Oyelowo Make It a Trifecta as They Re-Team for Katrina-Set Love Story/Murder Mystery Ava DuVernay & David Oyelowo Make It a Trifecta as They Re-Team for Katrina-Set Love Story/Murder Mystery Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Review: 'Stones in the Sun' Is A Gripping and Observant Tale About Haitian Immigrants in the U.S.

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act December 3, 2012 at 8:22PM

It’s seldom we get to see authentic, complex and tactful character representations from the West Indies on the screen, especially in cinema. In her compelling and heartfelt feature film debut, Haitian filmmaker Patricia Benoit follows three Haitian immigrant families seeking refuge in Brooklyn NY from the sociopolitical upheaval surrounding them in their native country during the 1980’s. 
13
James Noel and Patricia Rhinvil as Ronald and Vita in 'Stones in the Sun'
James Noel and Patricia Rhinvil as Ronald and Vita in 'Stones in the Sun'

It’s seldom we get to see authentic, complex and tactful character representations from the West Indies on the screen, especially in cinema. In her compelling and heartfelt feature film debut, Haitian filmmaker Patricia Benoit follows three Haitian immigrant families seeking refuge in Brooklyn NY from the sociopolitical upheaval surrounding them in their native country during the 1980’s. 

Benoit – who also wrote the screenplay - has crafted a movingly poignant and observant film.  Stones in the Sun, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April earlier this year, just screened as part of the 3rd Annual caribBeing event at the TriBeCa theaters this past Saturday. 

The finely interwoven stories – all three ultimately linked - begin with Gerald (a superb performance by Thierry Saintine), who is also at the center. He is the impassioned host of the anti-Haitian government show “Drums of the people”.  What’s fascinating about his story is that aside from his close involvement in the sociopolitical matters of his native country, he has acclimated himself to a new life in an upscale Brooklyn apartment with his pregnant, Caucasian wife. Yet, his heart and soul remains with Haiti and its people.  Their story - much like the other two - is paced just right, evoking a sense of intrigue and unpredictability. His wife listens to him daily “just to hear his voice”, since doesn’t understand/speak Creole. Their story begins to unravel when his wife welcomes Gerald’s father – to his son’s chagrin - who has unexpectedly showed up from Haiti at their doorstep.

What’s also fantastic about watching this film is how penetrable it becomes; you get the feeling that you are taking this journey alongside these characters.  Riva, played by newcomer Patricia Rhinvil in gripping film acting debut, travels to Brooklyn to join her husband, a cab driver. The story of this genuinely loving couple is endearing to watch.  In one tender scene, Riva is bathing her husband in the tub, yet she is confronted with her own psychological devastation caused by atrocities in her homeland.   One of the elements that I appreciated the most was her husband’s patience. It’s unfortunate that many of us are almost programmed to “assume” (you know the saying) how a husband would react in certain situations. A lesson of love is learned in this case. As Riva also struggles to adjust to living in the city, when we later find out the reasons behind her inner turmoil, the results are heartrending, yet inspiring.

Edwidge Danticat delivers another fine performance as Yannick, a teacher who is caught in her students’ political movement. She flees the chaos to move in with her sister in the suburbs. Micheline (a superb Michele Marceline) lives in a wealthy neighborhood with her overprotected daughter. The sisters were witnesses to tragedy and struggles growing up in their native country and Micheline, a realtor, has embraced a pretentious lifestyle of a “high class” American. Unlike Micheline, Yannick is unwilling to put her past behind and she is fervent on bringing justice to her students back at home. And, no matter how “different” these sisters’ paths in life may seem, the very convincing acting between the two actresses pave the way to some riveting and touching scenes. The tensions in their rivalry are clearly palpable, and the complexities of their differences become well understood.

Raw and understated, Stones in the Sun is handled with sensitivity in regards to its subjects. The well-developed drama has plenty of powerful performances and climactic scenes to keep you on the edge of your seat. But aside from this, hopefully you will come out of this experience with a new appreciation and respect for Haiti, its culture and the many realities its immigrants have undergone.

Stones in the river cannot know the problem of stones in the sun”.

STONES IN THE SUN from Ciné Institute on Vimeo.

This article is related to: Reviews, Festivals


Shadow & ActNewsletter