Add two parts Haitian spirit to one part Canadian pride, fry off garlic and diced tomatoes. Sprinkle family and friends to taste….
Montréal-born photographer Xavier Girard Lachaîne makes his directorial debut in a film revealing food as the umbilical cord connecting the Haitian community in his home city to their cultural roots in the Caribbean.
The protagonists of the fledgling director’s project are the parents of High Klassified, Shash’U and Yung Gayance—three Haitian Canadian music producers and creators shaking up Montréal’s sound. Lachaîne explains: “the young, creative music scene of my generation is a melting pot, a result of the clash of past and present cultures, immigration and adaptation. I feel that we are witnessing the birth of a new wave of beautiful creators with whom I grew up.”
This film knits home recordings and interviews together in a way that makes Haitian aesthetics a pressure cooker of church mass, dance, and close-ups of steaming food and jumbled hands. In Montréal Haitian homes, nostalgia resides on the tip of the tongue—with cooking that has all the aromas of ancestral lands and zest of spirit.
Working with cinematographer Ménad Kesraoui under the collaborative name Duo Necki Tera, Lachaîne takes a full-flavored look at the histories and dinners of Haitian households that have enriched Canada and fueled the creativity of naturalised or second-generation Canadians.
As reflected in the creole saying “remember the rain that made your corn grow”—from which the project takes its title—Xavier says, “My work focuses on cultural identity and the confrontation between who you think you are and where you are from.”