Emanuel Licha, zo reken — André Lavoie

[Fall 2021]

Film documentaire, 2021, 85 minutes, français et créole haïtien

By André Lavoie

It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. That seems inevitable, as those who wage war often base their actions on lies and feed on propaganda to justify its necessity.

War is also staged – hence the expression “theatre of operations.” Montreal artist Emanuel Licha has been exploring this aspect for some time, but in an approach that is neither ostentatious nor spectacular. Whether through photography, video, installation, or – more and more – documentary film, Licha examines mainly the representations of war: through the filter of the media (War Tourist, 2004–08), in its architectural forms (R for Real, 2008), or through aseptic interiors seeking to paper over the horrors of the past (Hotel Machine, 2016).

He seems to distance himself from these preoccupations and from a formalist practice, opting for the linearity of film, in zo reken, which plunges us into a country prey to the upheavals of history and to those of the literally unstable ground of an earthquake zone. In fact, never do the many speakers in this film speak of Haiti poetically. For them, the “pearl of the Antilles” is mainly a symbol of ambient chaos, and they are all exhausted from living in this “stressful country” – especially in its capital, Port-au-Prince…


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 118 – EXHIBITING PHOTOGRAPHY