Ludi: SXSW Movie Review

South Florida’s own Edson Jean makes his feature film debut as director and co-writer of the Miami-based drama, Ludi. As someone who was born and raised in Miami, I take great pleasure when a film comes along and shows audiences around the world parts of the city that most are unfamiliar with. 2016’s Moonlight accomplished that to great effect and Jean also dives deep into areas that films like Bad Boys 4 Life won’t go. However, Ludi isn’t a film about Miami, it is a film about the title character and Shein Mompremier gives a wonderfully moving performance.

Ludi (Mompremier) wants nothing more then to make enough money to not only support herself but also help her family who live back in Haiti. Struggling to make ends meet, she tries to put in for as much overtime as possible, no matter how exhausted she may be. Even after working a 60-hour week, Ludi attempts to bribe a co-worker for his extra shifts.

Although it is against the rules of the nursing home she works at, Ludi takes a moonlighting job caring for an old man with dementia named George (Alan Myles Heyman). The interactions between Ludi and George were easily the least interesting aspects of the film, but still, they do lead to some powerful moments for the main character. Mompremier does a phenomenal job when it comes to expressing Ludi’s pain and the struggle of just trying to keep it together. We can see her bursting from the seams, allowing the pressures she is facing to take hold.

Ludi was edited by South Florida native, Jonathan Cuartas who is the writer/director of last year’s My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To. He has without-a-doubt left his mark on Jean’s feature and helped shape it into something that at times can be truly, beautiful. At times the film can move along at a sluggish pace and that is one of its main drawbacks. Even with an 80 minute runtime, Ludi feels quite-a-bit longer. Regardless of my issues, there is still plenty to admire.

By: Marc Ferman