Heading South

Rated NR 2006

Heading South deals with the hot-button issue of middle-aged women discovering their sexuality anew thanks to the efforts of muscular black men with exotic accents whose standards of female beauty are more flexible than those of your average American dude. Set in the late 1970s at a resort in Haiti, it's the story of Brenda (Karen Young), returning three years later to the site of her first orgasm at the hands of a Haitian teen (Menothy Cesar), who nowadays pleasures middle-aged white tourists full-time. Director Laurent Cantet, known for socially conscious French films like Human Resources, tries to make a link between crime and poverty in Haiti and the sex trade, implicitly blaming the women's actions even as he sympathizes with their desires. But the connection is never properly made. Tragedy occurs late in the game, but other than the fact that it happens near the resort, to an employee, there's no direct cause and effect. Part of the plot confusion may be because the screen story is an amalgamation of several different tales by Haitian writer Dany Laferrière.

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