“Madan Sara” Tells the Story of Haitian Women Both Ordinary and Extraordinary

Ms.  Magazine, By Regine Jean-Charles, 2/28/2021

Madan Sara is a film about the power of Black women in a global economy and their contributions that too often go unacknowledged.

The new film Madan Sara begins and ends with writing by acclaimed writer and MacArthur “genius” Edwidge Danticat. Reading an excerpt from her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory translated into Kreyòl, Danticat recites in her trademark measured and melodious voice:

“There is a place where women live near trees that, blowing in the wind, sound like music … These women, they are fluttering lanterns on the hills, the fireflies in the night … There is always a place where women, like cardinal birds return to look at their own faces in stagnant bodies of water … Where women return to their children as butterflies … My mother was as brave as stars at dawn.”

Like the passage that introduces it, the documentary Madan Sara focuses on the lives of Haitian women who are simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary.

“To talk about Madan Sara is to talk about Haitian women,” according to the filmmaker Etant Dupain. As the film makes clear, it is also to talk about pressing issues like structural violence, government failures and resistance to neoliberalism that resonate throughout the Global South.

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