Landscape and Memory: Martinican Land-People-History
Produced by Renée Gosson and Eric Faden
Bucknell University 2003

Click here to visit this site in French/Visiter ce site en français.

In Landscape and Memory, the French West Indies’ most renowned identity theoreticians—Jean Bernabé, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Raphaël Confiant—investigate the different ways in which France, as a colonial power, marks colonized lands and peoples. Importantly, this is one of the few films about Martinique that adopts a Martinican perspective on France's overwhelming and continued colonial and cultural presence.

The Martinican writers ask how, in a country (or a "Department") like Martinique, does a colonial power "re-map" space and land? How does it "re-map" a people's memories and identities? And can one resist this re-mapping?



In five different sections, the writers examine the possibilities of landscape as a repository for a forgotten past, Martinique's economic dependence on France, the recent "cementification" of Martinique, the politics of commemoration, and the possibilities for Creole culture. The film combines the writers' environmental and ideological concerns with actual footage of the island, showing the symptoms of cultural devastation (satellite dishes, advertisements, supermarkets, regression of the mangrove swamp, etc.)


Shot on location in Martinique in March of 2001 by two independent American filmmakers, Landscape and Memory also poses several questions about the documentary form. The film is called a "média-stylo" paying homage to French film theorist Alexandre Astruc's 1948 manifesto "La caméra-stylo." This manifesto urged filmmakers to develop a genre that was neither documentary nor fiction but closer to the form of the essay--poetic, fragmented, open-ended, speculative, reflexive, and subjective. Using moving images, text, sound, music, and voice, Landscape and Memory is--to use Jean-Luc Godard's words--"research in the form of spectacle." By using this style, the film neatly reflects the structure of recent French West Indian novels, which are often themselves a métissage of history, narrative, documentary, and poetics.


Length: 30 mn.

Language: French (with English subtitles)

Format: VHS and DVD


For film rental and sales:

Third World Newsreel
545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Tel. 212-947-9277
Fax 212-594-6417


Renée Gosson is an associate professor of French
and Francophone Studies at Bucknell University where, in addition to French language and literature, she teaches courses on the literature and culture of the French West Indies.

For filmmaker appearances and inquiries:

Click here for film brochure (pdf)






Eric Faden is an associate professor of Film Studies and English at Bucknell University. His research includes early cinema and digital imagery. He has also made several experimental films that imagine what academic research might look like as a product of electronic (rather than literary) culture.