Sorbonne Abu Dhabi Ciné Club Examines Role of Drama in Portraying People’s Lives
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20-May-2014

University Screens Raoul Peck’s The Man by the Shore

Abu Dhabi 20 May 2014 – The Paris – Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi Ciné Club presented a screening of The Man by the Shore, a 1993 drama directed by Raoul Peck. The film explores the life of one family during the unrest, violence and instability that swept through Haiti in the early 1960s when corrupt François Duvalier rose to power aided by his private army that carried out his bidding with an iron fist.

Sarah, the key protagonist, is an eight year-old whose father garners, during Haiti’s darkest days, Sarah, the key protagonist, is an eight year-old whose father garners, during Haiti’s darkest days, the enmity of a despotic local official who has long resorted to torture and violence against anyone who dare oppose him. Now that Duvalier rules the country, local tyrants are free to exact punishment against opponents. Fearing for their lives, Sarah’s parents flee the country, leaving behind Sarah and her two sisters in the care of their grandmother – a brave woman who refuses to give in to the pressures of the tyrannical official.

A Student of Paris – Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi noted that the impact of drama is tremendous as it frequently acts as the voice of conscience, reinforcing people’s beliefs about right and wrong, the familiar, what is acceptable and what is taboo. Drama often addresses people’s concerns, portraying the present, unearthing the past and foretelling the future.

“Drama is not so easy to produce; it requires creativity and innovation. Characterization and plot call for much talent, insight, cultural proficiency and a critical eye. These elements rarely come together and are rarely allowed to take flight and see the light of day,” he said.

During the post-screening discussion session, audience members stressed the importance of cinema and its major influential and persuasive role. Indeed, cinema, as a form of communication, is uniquely positioned among other artistic forms and platforms for communication. Cinema, they said, offers a unique blend of sound, image and action that speaks to multiple senses. It also offers a clearer message and a wealth of detail that make it more attractive to audiences who are drawn in by sound and visual effects. Cinema can assimilate other art forms as well, such as music, painting and sculpture. It has the power to captivate viewers and is characterized by its capacity to address numerous issues and topics at once. Thus, cinema is considered a powerful tool for raising awareness, educating people and sensitizing them to various real life issues.