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The Agronomist
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The Agronomist (2003) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
31 March 2004 (France) See more »
The true story of Jean Dominique, a Haitian radio journalist and human rights activist. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Disturbing Inside Look at the Wreckage of a Nation See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)
Jean Dominique ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Aboudja ... Himself

Ronald Reagan ... Himself (archive footage)

Directed by
Jonathan Demme 
Produced by
Edwidge Danticat .... executive producer
Jonathan Demme .... producer
Lizi Gelber .... associate producer (as Lizzie Gelber)
Bevin McNamara .... producer
Peter Saraf .... producer
Original Music by
Wyclef Jean 
Cinematography by
Jonathan Demme 
Bevin McNamara 
Peter Saraf 
Film Editing by
Lizi Gelber  (as Lizzie Gelber)
Bevin McNamara 
Sound Department
Albert Gasser .... sound editor
Paul Hsu .... sound re-recording mixer
Nicholas Renbeck .... sound designer
Nicholas Renbeck .... supervising sound editor
Steven Visscher .... sound effects editor
Editorial Department
Glenn Allen .... additional editor
Marc Cohen .... additional editor
Other crew
Rebecca Conroy .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief nudity
USA:90 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) | USA:PG-13

Did You Know?

Jean Dominique:Clearly our silence and restraint irritated Dany Toussaint, and perhaps his masters. The mistake of Dany Toussaint was to think that a bit of terrorism on the part of street thugs would give access to our microphone. If they keep trying to use these screamers in front of Radio Haiti Inter to shut down the Delmas Road...See more »
Movie Connections:
References La Strada (1954)See more »


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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
A Disturbing Inside Look at the Wreckage of a Nation, 7 May 2004

Haitian agronomist turned civil rights activist with a perilous base, a radio station lost several times to violence, Jean Dominique paid the ultimate price for his unwavering dedication to the ideals of democracy, free speech and an open and uncensored press. He was shot dead outside his radio station, Radio Haiti, by persons still unknown but it wasn't a robbery. It was a final attempt to silence a man revered by countless thousands of his fellow Haitians, especially the poor and dispossessed.

Director Jonathan Demme provides much interview footage of Dominique in this ninety-minute documentary. His American-educated widow, Michele, (Homecoming Queen at the University of Maine, participant in the Vietnam-era Columbia riots) was also his partner in the radio station which she now runs.

Dominique was born into a comfortable family which in Haiti meant they either worked with the corrupt administration of the day or didn't oppose it. His father inspired nationalistic feelings in the young man who went off to France, as many well-off Haitians did and do, to study. In the interviews, his words are frequently punctuated with a sardonic laugh undoubtedly cultivated in the cafes of Paris.

Dominique never gave quarter to "Papa Doc" Duvalier, his idiot son and successor or to Aristide and the military junta that alternated with the now again deposed priest/president.

Articulate and fascinating, Dominique had to know he was in mortal peril virtually every day other than the two brief exile periods in New York (where he and Michele wed). Although he both found sanctuary in America and disliked U.S. foreign policy, especially after Reagan succeeded Carter, his ideological values reflect the best ideals of this country. American involvement with and in Haiti do not.

Interspersed with the interviews of Dominique and Michele are scenes of near anarchy and brutal violence in the incredibly poor country as well as shots of rituals reflecting the nativist tradition of a largely neglected rural class.

I would have passed this film by but for the recommendation of a colleague who used to travel to Haiti decades ago. I'm grateful to him for an eye-opening and deeply disturbing peek into a cauldron whose temperature continues above the social and political boiling point.

At the end of the film Michele is seen broadcasting from the station reporting that her murdered husband is alive and still campaigning for the values for which he died. It's not tongue-in-cheek, it's a moving legacy to a man who states in the film that democratic ideals of freedom can't be killed. He was right but he certainly could be and he paid the price for his lifelong heroism.


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