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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Jessica Geneus: A young and promising Haitian actress

By Yvon LacroixCSMS Magazine staff writerShe is young, pretty and, of course, charming. She has the wittedness of an actress with great talent. Jessica Geneus, in her recent leading role in the movie Cousine, has proven to be an actress with a sophisticated simplicity. One remembers Nice Simon in her unforgettable role in the movie Anne, although both movies depart from totally different genres. One is a comedy (Anne), and the other (Cousine) is a melodrama.In CSMS magazine, we do not portray Haitian art as a mediocre enterprise, as some of the media critiques tend to lead people to believe. Historically, Haiti has produced important figures in both literature and in theatre. How can we forget Martha Jean-Claude, Toto Bisainthe, Ti Corn, etc…In this piece, I am not trying to elevate Jessica to the talent of these legendary figures. However, no one can refute the fact that most celebrities had a humble beginning. Often, most of our Haitian actors gain fame only after they have been critically acclaimed in foreign media. That has not happened for Jessica, and may probably never have.There are few reasons for this. There is a lack of credibility behind modern Haitian movie producers. “Most of these producers are gurus, who are not motivated by the perfection of the Art. Money is their prime motivation,” said Andre Pernier, a record storeowner in Tamarac, Florida. That has tremendously hindered the ability of Haitian actors to showcase their talents.It is true that a lot of so-called Haitian movies are rooted in mediocrity. They have no storyline, and they are inflamed by sexually explicit acts because these low-budget filmmakers work on the only premise that sex sell.Sometimes I take pain in watching some of the pictures; and I only do it out of my nostalgia for Haiti. Most Haitian parents have refrained from using these movies for a family night, where the children could enjoy a frantic moment with mom and dad. Wouldn’t it be nice to expose our children, who were born here in the U.S., to our Haitian culture through the means of a fashionable industry?Having said that, Cousine, is one of the rare exceptions. It portrays the story of a deprived girl, who becomes an orphan, gets thrown out on the street and is left to survive on her own. Rescued by a cousin who lives in the shadow of prostitution, the girl manages to survive and than sacrifices her dignity by going to bed with a crazed, sex-maniac older man to earn the much needed cash to save her cousin from a threatening disease.In this movie, the storyline holds. Little sex scenes are detected, and I was able to spend an enjoyable moment with my family watching it. The movie describes an all-too-familiar scene: million of young Haitian children are vulnerable to exploitation. Many of them fall victims to sexual predators because their parents can longer economically support them. Jessica, playing the deprived girl, is impeccable. She was first noticed in Barricad as a supporting actress, playing alongside Fabienne Colas. She was only 17.Cousine, which also features actors Jimmy Jean Louis and Roudolph Moise, has clearly liberated Jessica and has made her an actress in her own right. I can only hope she does not fall between the cracks like so many of young and promising Haitian artists already did.Also see Jocelyne Labylle: A remarkable Zouk artist

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