Ian Craig



This paper focuses particularly on two recent documentaries of everyday life featuring Haitian women, Claudette Coulanges’s Chercher la vie and Rigoberto López’s Puerto Príncipe mío. The contribution of these works to the existing corpus of documentaries on Haiti is assessed. Gender differences in patterns of discourse and activity are analysed in order to clarify the social situation of women in contemporary Port-au-Prince. The films corroborate other cited evidence that women are the backbone of Haitian daily life, sustaining activity in market places, the factory floor and the home. However, their discourse and activities suggest that their constant struggle for subsistence and lower levels of education, together with persistent prejudices within society, constrain Haitian women to the present moment and prevent them from acquiring a wider consciousness of their reality. The validity and relevance of this type of documentary, in which the viewer is brought into close contact with individual subjects going about their daily business, is endorsed and, finally, other aspects of Haitian women’s struggle are identified.