NCLAFF: Mal de Caña (Sugar Cane Malice)
Dir. by Juan A. Zapata. Dominican Republic/Spain. 2021. 76 min. Spanish with English subtitles.
A documentary about the working conditions of Haitian workers in one of the largest sugar cane plantations in the world, located in the Dominican Republic and belonging to the Fanjul Family, one of the most powerful families in America. When Maria's husband died, she was told to either leave the sugar cane plantation or to work in the only existent job: cutting and planting cane. She decided to work in exchange for a miserable wage and a rudimentary barrack she and her five children call home. With that, she was accepting a precarious life without electricity, drinkable water, and sanitary services. This is how people (four stories are told) are stuck in a contemporary plantation system, ensuring that no basic services or civil rights are provided, keeping workers in a life of misery. The vast extension of a sugar cane plantation in Dominican Republic offers this deal to thousands of Haitian workers. They are an obstacle that hinders the functioning of the great machine that is the Plantation.