What exactly is the American Dream? Is it finding financial success, learning how to survive through the turbulence of life, and being able to support your family? In Ludi, screenwriters Joshua Jean-Baptiste and Edson Jean envision the American Dream as a willingness to work your butt off, no matter how difficult the job, to ensure that you can make everyone around you, particularly your family, happy. As Ludi (Shein Mompremier), a nurse, attempts to make ends meet, she runs into a series of obstacles, including ungrateful clients and difficult co-workers, making for a rocky and trying journey. However, sometimes the most difficult things in life teach us the greatest lessons, and Ludi is on her way to learning something truly wonderful.
At the assisted living home she works at, Ludi tries picking up more hours from her boss, but to no avail. She then asks her co-workers if she can take over their shifts and strikes out there as well. So, needing more money, Ludi takes a moonlighting job as an overnight caretaker for a man with dementia. She shows up at George’s (Alan Myles Heyman) home only to find a cantankerous old man who refuses any help. Can Ludi help George, or will he be her breaking point?
Mompremier is tasked with bringing a slew of emotion to the table and essentially setting the stage for everyone around her. She is more than capable and is clearly powerful a presence, with the ability to fill the room and demand attention. But there are times when Ludi asks her to take a step back and allow her co-stars to share in the limelight. Success St. Fleur Jr., who portrays a fellow nurse, is charismatic, full of energy, and almost steals the show. Due to how passionate both actors are, it almost seems as if they will compete for attention rather than complement one another. Mompremier, however, so beautifully takes that step back and allows St. Fleur Jr. to express himself.
“…Ludi takes a moonlighting job as an overnight carer for a man with dementia.”
Heyman is just as passionate and talented as Mompremier, and the two require one another in order for their scenes to work on every level required. As their relationship blossoms and viewers are pulled deeper and deeper into each of their lives, the juxtaposition of an elderly, cranky Jewish man from Israel and a young, energetic woman from Haiti develops into something beautiful. While Jean deserves immense credit for the writing and subdued style, without these two actors, the film wouldn’t find as much success as it does. There is such chemistry between Mompremier and Heyman that every scene is believable and enjoyable.
Ludi is presented using subtle humor and a series of up-close-and-personal camera shots that make the movie intimate and charming. Such a seemingly personal setting allows viewers to understand and appreciate the story being told. From cinematography to acting and writing to directing, the production never fails to enlighten.
Sometimes a film comes together and finds success as a result of the story, other times because of the acting, or the style, or the cinematography, etc., but rarely do you find a movie that finds success due to all of the above. Ludi is that just that. Jean, Mompremier, Heyman, and everyone in the cast and crew not named worked hard to create something great. This is one of the best films of the year so far, and that comes as a result of the hard work and dedication from everyone involved.
Ludi screened at the 2021 Lighthouse International Film Festival.
"…one of the best films of the year..."