Thank you Ronald. I am humbled by your kind and effusive...
Thank you Ronald.
I am humbled by your kind and effusive commentary.
PLUIE D'ESPOIR, my friend Jacques Roc's film has been released and I have finally seen the Director's cut of this film. I have avoided watching the pirated version as I have refused to give any legitimacy to it and to the thieves that produced it. I am now more proud of Jacques than ever. The official version of his movie has retained the flavor and the message which emanated from his life-long dream.
It is not MY movie not MY project.
Your kind comment about the compassion I brought to the film is really because since I am not an actor my only lifeline was to simply be ME. And if you see compassion there, it is because my heart has bled for my country since my birth; but make no mistake, it was not about me, It's ALL Jacques.
I simply helped my friend tell his story with rewrites, ideas, corrections, all-night conferences, yelling matches over this and that, etc, and I am proud to have helped him. The birth of this dream goes back more than forty years, when we Hippies, Beatnicks and other various left wing idealists used to hang out at Jacques's brother Georgy's apartment on the West Side of NYC in the early Seventies; back then we endlessly discussed Social issues of all kinds - often too loudly.
This story did not have a title back then and the story was skeletal but it goes back that far. Jacques never let go of his dream to do this film, and over the years we discussed over and over again the story line, sometimes we argued into the night about details and concepts but I always knew this was Jacques's baby and my job was to help my friend live his dream even if that meant disagreeing at times and swapping frustrations while birthing ideas and concepts.
Again, my pride is immense that Jacques got by "with a little help from his friends" He is my hero for doing it and for doing it HIS WAY. The beauty of Jacques is that even though we disagreed sometimes artistically on concept, development and delivery, and even philosophically and politically, our friendship has forever been based on our ability to listen to each other and consider each other's viewpoint.
It was in that spirit that at my suggestion and as a condition of my actual physical presence on film, he removed and precluded all gratuitous nudity, sex, drugs, alcohol and tobacco consumption and profanity.
I am not a prude, but I believed then and I believe now that a real storyteller need not rely on these "crutches" to tell a good story.
His agreeing to do these changes was a testimony to his ability to give a fair hearing to a friend's point of view. But the greatest thing, the thing that made me embrace the process and sink all that I am into it, was that Jacques agreed with me that the original script's direction toward a sexual affair between the nurse and the peasant was the wrong way to tell this beautiful story.
I always believed that Toussaint WAS HAITI ITSELF and that we had a responsibility to return him to his loving wife and beautiful children as pure as we found him on the street that day when Phillipe's truck blew a tire, and that if we corrupted him and negotiated his personal integrity with a seedy lust scene with the nurse, in reality we would be hurting the film, the story, and the integrity of our country in the process.
I argued to him that we owed young people who would view this film to lead by example and we should trust that this example would be followed and by it they would lead others long after we are gone. The story speaks for itself and it is one of immense beauty.
Lastly, I asked Jacques to "sign" his movie the way Hitchcock used to do it, by appearing on film in a cameo; he suggested I direct the restaurant scene while he played the piano player in the background.
I loved it.
Let me say again, Ronald, in closing of my remarks here that I consider my lifelong friendship with Jacques Roc a jewel in the richness of my life and I am proud to have helped my friend push through to success in this project.
If What little I have been able to contribute enriched the film in some ways, I am grateful that I could offer what I did. While many of us thought Globally, Jacques acted Locally.
Please accept my warmest regards,
It is time that I write about Jon Christian Sajous as my friend for a number of years. When I first showed the first...