May 25, 2007 - #75
“Memories Of Our Past” Tells The History of Saint Barth
“Memories Of Our Past,” a 52-minute documentary includes the stories of about fifteen old-timers of Saint Barth who describe life on the island before the advent of tourism. Lucina Lédée, Valentine and Jeanne Laplace, Sully Magras, Georges Gréaux, Romon Beal, Doudou and Camelle recall the simple life they led, the exile of the men to Saint Thomas looking for work, the collecting of salt at Saline, the weaving of palm fronds, the inter-island voyages of schooners, the black market alcohol and cigarettes… Doctor Weil, one of the first “metros,” or metropolitan French to settle in Gustavia, who explains that since there were no other doctors when he arrived on the island, he also served as dentist and veterinarian. The concludes with the comments made by Angélique Questel Beal, an 18-year old, who is nostalgic for this life she never knew but who would transform SUVs into donkeys, the mode of local transportation before the arrival of automobiles on the island. Directed by Victoire Theismann, the film was shown as a world premiere during the St. Barth Film Festival on April 29. The filmmaker, who has fond childhood memories of the island she discovered when the boat she was sailing with her father lost its mast in the ocean near St. Barth, wanted the images in the film to capture the soul of the island whose very essence is threatened today. It was many years after that first visit when she finally returned to the island and she found that in spite of the jet set glitz and glamour shown by the media, the real nature of the island still existed behind this façade. The film was produced by Cedric Robion, who also served as cameraman and editor, as well as doing the sound. His company, Telemac Production, bought the rights to a film shoot in St. Barth in 1952 Baron Gustafsson Nordenskold, a Swedish navigator who recorded his visit to the island, and some of his footage was used to illustrate the memories of the islanders. The film will be shown on French national and regional television in June, and DVDs are already on sale in various boutiques, supermarkets, and bookstores on the island for 25 euros.
Marius Stackelborough Foundation Competition
Bertil Larsson, president and founder of the Marius Stackelborough Foundation in 1997, envisioned a competition for students on the theme of the Swedish era in St. Barth. A Swede who is enthralled by the island’s Swedish history, his idea was to teach the adolescents at the local high school abut the period from 1784 to 1878 when the island was ruled by Sweden. After getting permission from Marius, Larsson met with Christian Lédée, principal of the school, who agreed to propose the idea to the students. Since the beginning of the school year, under the direction of history-geography teacher Philippe Dibos, 20 of the eighth grade students have been working in groups of two or three in search of documents, books, and other materials from the period. In relation to the motivation of the students and the success of their research, five different dossiers have been completed, each on a separate subject: the ceding of St. Barth to Sweden and the dawn of the Swedish era in 1784-85; daily life during the Swedish period; architecture and urbanism, the attempts at agriculture; and the return of the island to France. On May 15, a ceremony was held at City Hall and four of the five completed dossiers were awarded with prizes. An example of each project will be kept in the archives of the school and will also be available for consultation at the Municipal Library. Bertil Larsson took a copy back to Trelleborg, where he hopes to have it translated into Swedish by the local junior high students.
Nicolas Sarkozy Elected As French President
A day before the elections in continental France, voters in Saint Barth turned out in large numbers at the polls to show their support for Nicolas Sarkozy in the recent French presidential elections. Mayor Bruno Magras, official representative of Sarkozy’s UMP political party in St. Barth, spoke on Radio Saint Barth after the primary and asked all those who voted for Sarkozy in the primary to convince their friends and family to do so as well in the run-off. The mayor is pleased with the results, as Sarkozy was elected in Saint Barth by an even larger margin then in metropolitan France, and is reassured the island’s political evolution is still on the right track.
Results of second round
||2 516 votes - 77,73%
||3 925 - 54,62%
||92 321 - 49,17%
||721 votes - 22, 27%
||3 260 - 45,37%
||95 500 - 50,83%
In spite of the ongoing difficulties in organizing such an event on the island, the annual theatre festival ran from May 4-13, closing the cultural season. For this sixth edition of the festival, Martine Simon, Corinne Duval, Nadège Emmanuellian, and all the actors of the local troupe, SB Artists, presented an ambitious program. Six productions were performed in the multi-purpose room upstairs at the Capitainerie and at the church hall next to the Catholic Church in Gustavia, while waiting for the construction of a professional theatre (promised by local officials for quite some time). Arthur Jugnot and Cécilia Cara performed “The Sister of Jerry King,” currently on stage at the Mathurins Theatre in Paris, while comedian Jean-Jacques Vannier presented “L’envol du pingouin” a superb one-man show directed by François Rollin and nominated for the Moliere Awards in France. Finally, Jean David Stepler and Laurence Bussone were seen in “Y’a des jours comme cela,” a contemporary police drama. The actors of SB Artists performed “Joyeuse pagaille,” a vaudeville written by Régis Porte, “Les pas perdus” by Denise Bonnal, and “ Blanc” by Emmanuelle Marie. All of the performances, both evenings and matinees, where sold-out, offering well-deserved kudos to the hard-working organizers of the event.
From left to right, in front: Jean David Stepler, Laurence Bussone, Cécilia Cara and Arthur Jugnot
Standing: Corinne Duval, Martine Simon, Nadège Emmanuellian and Fred l'éclairagiste