by Vania Andre
There is a formation that is innate to our universe. Although not obvious, it appears distinctly in the fabric of our existence. You see its pattern anywhere from a conch shell, to the design of our Milky Way galaxy. It is that of the spiral; a pattern that is seen even on the most basic level in our DNA double helix.
“The point of the spiral is that the spiral is within you,” said RaynaldLeconte, executive producer and director of In the Eye of the Spiral; a documentary film which parallels the “perpetual chaos” of Haiti to that of the ever-winding spiral. In September 2012, Leconte and Eve Blouin, co-director and writer of Spiral, returned from 11 days of shooting in Port-au-Prince and Port-Salut; where they highlighted and examined the work of seven of Haiti’s most prominent living artists.
“A good documentary has to have a centerpiece behind the story,” Blouin said. “It was clear to us that the one person that could link all of these elements was Franketiene.”
Born Frank Etienne, Franketiene, is one of Haiti’s most prolific writers and painters and also founder of the spiralism movement philosophy. In 2009 he was on the short list for the Nobel Peace Prize in literature.
For such a small island, Haiti overflows with talent and creativity,Leconte said. Our mission with this film was to find out why; and Franketiene exemplified what we were looking for.
“Everything reproduces itself infinitely,” Blouin said. “There’s no beginning, end or center. There’s nothing; just an evolution of self-reproducing cells all the time.” In the Eye of the Spiral highlights how Haitian artists have recreated this fundamental truth and manifested it through their art.
We thought we were going to Haiti with a vision, Leconte said. But what became the vision was actually the filming. Each artist had a definition for what spiralism meant to them; which is creativity and creation because there is no other choice.
“Extreme existentialism equals access in creation because at that point where else do you go,”he said.
“There’s almost a Nietzschean aspect to this,” Blouin said. ”Man has created God in order not to kill himself” she said quoting Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. “If there was no creativity, Haiti would be dead or completely zombie like.”
The only product of chaos is creation; that is the “perpetual energy” flowing through Haiti. The outlet is not only in their paintings, but in their words and intellect, Leconte added. It is the byproduct of their “spiritual gravitas.”
“I am not afraid of chaos because chaos is the womb of light and life,” Franketiene said in a 2011 interview with the New York Times. “The only thing not chaotic is death.”
I am convinced that what makes this movie special is that people from different backgrounds will be able to understand, Blouin said. Those who have this kind of sensitivity and emotional intelligence will search in a very hidden part of their heart and will be able to understand what we are trying to convey in this film.
In the Eye of the Spiral is narrated by Annie Lenox and was shot using an all Haitian film crew. Leconte and Blouin hope to have the film completed by the end of 2012. To support In the Eye of the Spiral, visit their site.
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