Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 21, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Agronomist

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
90 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/23/04
director
Jonathan Demme
distributor
THINKFilm
genre
Documentary
We gave it a B-

Jonathan Demme takes the title of his loving, jumbled portrait of Jean Dominique from the career that the slain Haitian broadcaster and human rights activist was trained to pursue. The interviews were shot over the course of nearly a decade, beginning in 1991 when Dominique and his wife, Michele Montas, were exiles in New York; the footage draws from Demme’s longtime passion for the music, art, and political struggles of that small, wracked island nation. Dominique, who ran the activist station Radio Haiti Inter, was a spellbinding talker, and The Agronomist works best as an homage when we become his audience. (Dominique was assassinated in April 2000.) As Demme’s audience, though, we’re at the mercy of political passion overshadowed by style.

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