When Maria’s husband died, she was told to either leave the sugarcane plantation or to work in the only existent job: cutting and planting cane.
She decided to work in exchange for a miserable wage and a rudimentary barrack she and her five children call home. With that, she was accepting a precarious life without electricity, drinkable water and sanitary services. This is how people are stuck in a house provided by the Company, ensuring that no other basic service neither civil rights are provided, maintaining people in a life of misery. The vast extension of a sugarcane plantation in Dominican Republic offers this deal to thousands of Haitian workers. Some struggle to leave – like Maria’s daughter, with few chances of working in a hotel by the coast. Some others are forced to leave – like Leidy and her baby, when her father-in-law retires after 50 years of work. Yet, some others – like Yudelka and Telemin – organize and try to change the miserable situation everyone is living in the cane fields. They are an obstacle that hinders the functioning of the great machine that is the Plantation.
Directed by Juan A. Zapata, Dominican Republic/Spain, 2021, 76min, Documentary, Spanish w/English subtitles
" Sugar Cane Malice is the third film from director [Juan A.] Zapata, a native of the Dominican Republic, who is also an architect and visual artist. Both sensibilities are on display in Sugar Cane Malice, which pays particular attention to the built environment of the workers, and contrasts it through a series of helicopter (or drone) shots with modern construction in the island’s cities and the luxurious beach resorts that are beloved of tourists. He also finds beauty even in the sugar cane fields where these workers labor for the benefits of others. Above all, he respects the dignity of his subjects, who haven’t let their difficult lives become their only story." ~ Sarah Boslaugh
FULL FRAME Documentary Film Festival 2021
Festival des Libertés 2021
EATSA Art & Tourism is an International Film Festival 2021
SOMCINEMA Festival (Spain) 2021
Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam 2021