My life in films: the culture of commitment by Carla Beauvais

My Life in Films: The Culture of Engagement by Carla Beauvais


Diversity and inclusion are the watchwords of Carla Beauvais, who was coordinator of the Black History Month Roundtable for more than 10 years. And she co-founded the Dynasty Foundation, organizer of the gala of the same name, the 7th edition of the culture gala being held on the 1st April. Spotlight…

Carla, what is your earliest memory of a movie theatre?

My parents didn't have time to take us to the movies as a family. The only thing I remember is the first time I went to the cinema by myself. I must have been around 16 or 17 and was super happy to pay with my own money, get my popcorn, etc. But that's all I remember! I can't remember the movie I saw.

What was your first big movie?

I remember that though! It's not a movie, it's a series and it's about Roots. I saw her very very young. I was traumatized for life. Yes, we hear about slavery in school books, but to see this suffering on bodies that look like me… It scarred me for life. I also remember the great existential discussions I had with my father about “why? Why are they doing this to us?” And that opened the door to all sorts of discussions about the history of Haiti since I am Haitian.

And a more recent one?

What shocks me the most are films that remind me of my own existence. I am able to connect with the suffering I see on screen, the films that have marked me the most are always of this order. A recent film is Apatrides, by Michèle Stephenson, released in 2020. It is an NFB documentary and the director follows a Dominican lawyer who fights for the recognition of the rights Haitians who work in the bateyes [Editor's note: sugar cane cutters' camps] in the Dominican Republic. 

An actor or actress whose talent fascinates you?

Denzel Washington! I find he has a unique ability to deliver his characters.

Who was your first movie “kick”?

My God! I hesitated a lot, but I have to face the facts, like many young girls of my generation, it was Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing em>). I think the final blow was when he did My Love Ghost! He was a charismatic actor, who had something special, I like to dance a lot and Lascivious Dance is one of my cult films. 

The soundtrack listened to during your adolescence?

For me, it was the Kraked Unit soundtrack for Paris by Cédric Klapisch. I've listened to it at least 100,000 times online. Kraked Unit has collaborated on almost all of Klapisch's films and this group has a very special way of arranging. I really overdid it for the soundtrack of Paris

If everything were possible, a dead or alive director that would you like to invite to the cinema? And what would you see?

It wouldn't just be to go to the movies, but I would really like to meet Raoul Peck, who notably made the Oscar-nominated documentary “I'm not your nigger”. Raoul Peck is a great Haitian filmmaker. He has a very particular way of talking about history without propaganda, he always has an inside look.