Christian Lara, “Father of Guadeloupean and Martinican cinema”, has passed away

Christian Lara, 84, who had been hospitalized at the University Hospital in La Meynard, Fort-de-France, died on the evening of Saturday September 9. Guadeloupe, and more broadly the French Caribbean, has lost its pioneer of the cinema, a man who was steeped in culture, tradition and life in general in our society.

Born in Basse-Terre (Guadeloupe) on January 25, 1939, the former journalist at Le Figaro newspaper became a cameraman, editor, scriptwriter, director and producer, after studying cinema in Paris. His film “Coco Lafleur, candidat” (1979) – starring actor Greg Germain – which he directed at the age of 40, has received a particularly warm welcome on his native island, where audiences accustomed to seeing big westerns, karate and other productions were seeing them on the big screen for the first time. From then on, “Lights, camera, action” became Christian Lara’s favorite phrase, as he continued to explore West Indian society with his camera.

His filmography consists of some 30 films, including “Mamito” (1980), “Vivre libre ou mourir” (1980), “Adieu foulards” (1983), “Sucre amer” (1998), “1802, l’Epopée guadeloupéenne” (2004), “Yafa – Le pardon” (2018) and “Al” (2023). The director was currently shooting “L’homme au bâton”, a film from the novel by writer Ernest Pépin, based on a true story that happened in the 1960s in Guadeloupe. Christian Lara was one of those directors with a fetish actor ; his was Luc Saint-Éloy.
Christian Lara received several awards during his career, including the Best Diaspora Film (Prix Paul Robeson) for “Sucre amer” at the 16th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in 1999, and the Pioneering Filmmaker Award for her entire career at the 21st edition of the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival in 2013.

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On May 27, 2018, Christian Lara was at the Memorial ACTe in Pointe-à-Pitre where the commemoration of the abolition of slavery was held.