The Black Mozart in Cuba & Venezuelan short films

Screenshot from the Black Mozart of Cuba.

Who was Joseph Boulogne? That was a question perhaps most of the audience were asking themselves before yesterday’s screening of the Black Mozart in Cuba. After the film, however, the question everyone was asking was: why hadn’t we heard of Le Chevalier de St George before?

Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de St George, was a classical composer and violin virtuoso born in Guadeloupe in the mid 18th century. A mulatto, the son of a slave and her master, he achieved enormous success in Paris and was said to be Marie Antoinette’s favourite musician. He was also a top fencer, and led a regiment of coloured soldiers during the French Revolution. Yet when he died in 1799 he was all but forgotten, allegedly the result of a campaign by Napoleon to have him erased from history.

Screenshot from the Black Mozart of Cuba.

Interest in Le Chevalier began to rekindle about 40 years ago; the film the Black Mozart is the latest act in the rehabilitation of the memory of this extraordinary human being. What makes the film more than just a typical biographical documentary, however, is its skillful combining of the life of the man with a look at a festival of events held in Cuba a few years ago to celebrate his life and work. The result is a truly engaging and important film.

Stephanie James of Guadeloupe, co-director/producer of the Black Mozart in Cuba.

Trinidadian Steven James, husband of Stephanie James and director of the Black Mozart in Cuba.

Cross-section of the large crowd.

Steven James’s proud parents.

The enthusiastic crowd made for a lively Q&A; session after the screening of the film.

TV presenter Magella Moreau has her say during the Q&A.;

Adam Low, director of the documentary, the Strage Luck of VS Naipaul, and Naima Mohammed, TTFF Workshop Coordinator.

Screenshot from Adan y Eva, one of three short Venezuelan films screened before the Black Mozart in Cuba.

Screenshot from Historias del Viento, the second Venezuelan short film at yesterday’s screening.

Screenshot from El Café de Lupe, the final short film screened.

Date: Sat 27 Sep, 2008
Category: ttff news and features

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