A hot, emotional time in the `South'

Review A+

August 25, 2006|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun movie critic

Heading South is a hydra-headed love story, as dangerous as it is heated and complex. For the sexy middle-aged female tourists in this pre-AIDS period piece (set in the 1970s), frolicking with handsome Haitian men on glittering beaches and then taking them to bed is an experience both earthy and transcendent. Even when these women think they can keep their sexuality in perspective, they can't gauge how much the warmth, beauty and erotic release of lovemaking with these dream mates comes to mean for them. (In different ways, neither do the men.)

The movie is about the impossibility of control in love - and how risky love can be in a country like Haiti, run by a network of hidden connections under the thumb of a dictator, "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Investigating one more terrible Haitian homicide, a police inspector may quip, "Tourists never die," but in Heading South, tourists end up emotionally stripped and perhaps traumatized.

Heading South (Shadow Distribution) Starring Charlotte Rampling, Karen Young, Louise Portal, Menothy Cesar. Directed by Laurent Cantent. Unrated. Time 108 minutes.

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