Fashion photographer Nigel Barker’s foray into production and direction in Dreams are not Forgotten is an intimate visit to the heart of the poorest country in the world one year after incurring devastation from a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. With great cinematographic clarity in both heartbreaking and breathtaking scenescapes, Dreams captures hope in a hopeless place. Summer Teal Simpson reviews.
The film follows no plot and the sparse narrative, introduced dramatically late, is presented through vignettes of residents of Bel Air, a Port Au Prince shantytown. Their collective voices are heard over a soundtrack of local melodies, laughing children, a singing congregation, and clattering street life. With measured acceptance, they are nostalgic for the past, mournful of the present, and hopeful for a fortunate future.
Barker’s photographic influences are strong, richly presenting the juxtaposition of beauty and harshness. Scenes depict rubble astride a tall, white cathedral sitting in ruins, bright yellow hair ties sprinkled across black heads in a school yard, and trash-strewn streets filled with fresh vegetables at market. The film is framed by opening and closing shots of the crystal, aquamarine waters off the Haitian shore, images of intense beauty and natural bounty that stand in stark contrast to the poverty-stricken urban scenes found just inland.
Though decidedly not well developed, Barker delivers purity in imagery, faithfulness to the Haitian experience, and authenticity in Dream‘s overall vibrancy.
Dreams are not Forgotten
Director: Nigel Barker