Haiti Express (1983)
Udenrigskorrespondenten was Leth's first feature but must be regarded as an experiment in fiction rather than an action film in the usual sense. Alex Hansen (Henning Jensen) is a peripatetic correspondent and at the start of the film on an assignment in civil-war-ravaged El Salvador. He cannot sleep and is suffering from writer's block, and goes to Haiti, where he bumps into and falls in love with a Danish woman (Hanne Uldal). However, she disappears, and instead of obtaining an interview with Baby Doc Alex searches for her haphazardly while he goes more and more to the dogs. At the end of the film a quotation from "Interferens", a poem by Johannes V. Jensen, expresses Alex's desperation in words, but only when he has severed connections to his justifiably impatient editor in Denmark is he able to abandon himself to Haitian sensuality and dance in the streets of Port-au-Prince by way of release. Alex's gradual dissolution is reflected by the dramaturgy of the film. Hence Udenrigskorrespondenten seems far more unfocussed that traditional film narratives and seems imbued by faith in the random principle with its loose fiction in a kind of documentary framework. A questioning, puzzled voice over narrator also struggles with the unexplained components of the film, trying to understand Alex's thoughts and emotions, which are otherwise only reflected by his restless behaviour. A hectic, documentary feel in the El Salvador section gives way to calmer visuals in Haiti. The camerawork becomes lingering and is often composed in several spatial planes (this also goes for the soundtrack) and there is extensive use of restrained, smooth camera movements. The altogether warm colours and handsome, sparsely-lit night scenes create a sultry, claustrophobic atmosphere that describes Alex's crisis.- Written by Anonymous
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