An actress, three months post-partum, reads through fragments of the archive of Suzanne Césaire as she prepares to perform excerpts of the writer's work.

The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire is a post-biopic about Caribbean surrealist Suzanne Césaire, deconstructing the process of bringing an actually-lived life to film. The film examines her relationship with her husband, French politician Aimé Césaire, and famed surrealist André Breton.

Filmed on the grounds of a tree archive in South Florida, a small group of filmmakers and actors consider the “paradise” of historic and political memory. The film takes place primarily in the space of the film set itself where actors and crew confront the history of this writer in her youth, and then stage scenes from her life. The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire is writer-director Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich’s first feature and stars César-award-winning actor Zita Hanrot and Motell Gyn Foster. 

Inspired by the structures of Césaire’s own writing, which often took a colonial convention and unraveled it, the film deconstructs the narrative period biopic genre, moving between a conventional cinema and deconstructed experimental scenes. With a soundtrack by singer Sabine McCalla, The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire plants us firmly in the darkness and desire of its subject matter while acknowledging the impossibility of resuscitating a legacy partially lost to time.

This film has been supported by: