Ghosts of Cité Soleil


The debut film by director Asger Leth (son of Jørgen Leth of The Five Obstructions fame) is an edgy documentary about gangsters in the desperately impoverished Port-au-Prince neighborhood known as Cité Soleil. Startling in its immediacy (just how did a filmmaker get that close to these guys, anyway?), it’s a scary but compelling nonfiction look at the kind of violent, charismatic characters who often populate narrative films. The titular ghosts, or chimères, are the common gangsters who ruled the streets of Cité Soleil during the rein of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The film chronicles the events leading up to Aristide’s exile in 2004, the immediate aftermath, and its implications for the chimeres, who were seen as Aristide loyalists. The truth as laid out by Leth is a little more complicated — one of the gang leaders, Bily, believes in his country’s leadership and even has political aspirations, while another, Bily’s brother 2pac, is more jaded.

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