As it reports on U.S. involvement in the rise and fall of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, “Aristide and the Endless Revolution” indirectly illustrates that American rhetoric doesn’t always match American action when it comes to supporting democratic sovereignty. As such, pic is a vital if less than objective slice of film journalism on the U.S.’s troubled history in the Third World. Activist groups and newshound viewers are ripe target auds, and public interest tube channels look to be prime buyers.
Aristide’s ascendancy from left-leaning priest to head of state is dutifully recalled by filmmaker Nicolas Rossier. But docu’s fire is stoked by a debate (Aristide’s lawyer Ira Kurzban vs. U.S. State Dept.’s Roger Noriega) over the facts behind Aristide’s so-called resignation in 2004. Kurzban contends the U.S. forced the duly-elected Aristide — whose demands for debt relief and other compensations rankled leaders from Washington to Paris — to cede power. Parallels to the U.S. deposition of elected Congo president Patrice Lumumba 40-plus years earlier are stark, though pic fails to draw the connection.