Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Demme|
|Written by||Jonathan Demme|
|Music by||Wyclef Jean|
|Language||English, French, Haitian Creole|
|Box office||$226,189 (US Domestic)|
The Agronomist is a 2003 American documentary directed by Jonathan Demme about Jean Dominique. The documentary follows the life of Dominique, who ran Haiti's first independent radio station, Radio Haiti-Inter, during multiple repressive regimes.
The documentary starts with an interview where Jean Dominique recounts a day when he was able to broadcast gunfire outside Radio Haiti-Inter.
The titular Agronomist is Jean Leopold Dominique, owner of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti's first independent radio station. Jonathan Demme assembles this documentary with historical footage and personal interviews he conducted years earlier with Jean Dominique. The result is the portrait of a seriously ethical individual who refuses to submit to power (and corruption) even unto death. The result is a highly emotional documentary of a unique individual who refused to submit to injustice.
Radio Haiti was founded in 1960, but in 1969 it became Radio Haiti-Inter. Jean Dominique's broadcasts focused on injustice from the perspective of pro-democracy for the masses. He was able to approach and present problems from the perspective of the poor Haitians, but especially the rural agriculturalists with whom he identified closely.
The most remarkable fact of Jean Dominique's radio career is that it lasted as long as it did in the face of powerful opposition from elites. While the powerful attempted to silence all critics (Jean Dominique survived torture and attempted assassinations, as did some of his staff), the radio host had captured the support, often covert but sometime daringly overt, or the Haitian people within broadcast range. As a result of outright courage and solidarity among the righteous (those compelled to act justly), Radio Haiti-Inter wasn't silenced for decades.
Even after the assassination of Jean Dominique, his wife and fellow journalist, Michèle Montas, courageously broadcast from the station for another three years. Radio Haiti-Inter ceased operations in 2003.
Although The Agronomist himself would call this documentary the story of a "human being," by the film's end, most viewers will have been forced by the sheer rhetorical power of its subject, and the director, to elevate Jean Dominique to the status of hero.
Box office receipts totaled $226,189 in 21 theaters in the U.S.
The movie was released on DVD on June 7, 2005 with English and French spoken language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
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- The Agronomist on IMDb