The Magic Heart


Antoinette finally emerges from under the bed (credit: Jeffrey Price)

Antoinette finally emerges from under the bed (credit: Jeffrey Price)


A film about Trauma Healing

Jacques and his little sister Antoinette live at Creche Amis des Enfants children’s home. Both their parents were killed in the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th 2010. They are all each other has left in the world, and neither has adjusted since that terrible day. Jacques has lots of talents, is good at building things, but since his parents died he has struggled to make friends with other children. He loses his temper quickly, and has a reputation for fighting. Antoinette is very small for her age, and hasn’t spoken since the earthquake. Recently, she began hiding under her bed, and now she has stopped eating altogether. Jacques is terrified he is going to lose her.

Today, both of their lives will change when a carnival band appears from nowhere, the strangest band you ever saw. The Band Leader knows that what Jacques wants more than anything else in the world is for Antoinette to speak and eat again. To make this happen, Jacques must first make a toy doll, he says, similar to the one Antoinette lost that her mother made. He can just used items of trash. When the doll is finished, the Band Leader pulls a little plastic heart on a string from his pocket.

“This heart is magic,” he tells Jacques. “It will allow the doll to speak to Antoinette. Soon after that she will speak to you.”

First, however, Jacques must speak FOR the doll. Jacques shows the doll to Antoinette beneath her bed, and gradually makes it talk. The doll asks to dance with her, then to play, but Antoinette doesn’t move. “Are you very sad, Antoinette?” the doll asks finally. Antoinette slowly nods. “I’m very sad too,” it responds. Jacques continues to make the doll speak. “I’m sad because … because … because my mum and dad … they died in the earthquake. The house fell down and they got buried! I could hear them call me! I tried to dig … I tried, but I couldn’t … I couldn’t move anything! I should have … I should have tried harder. I hate … I hate me! I hate me!” By now, Jacques is crying. This is the first time he has ever spoken these words. Antoinette reaches out and holds the doll, whispering: “No, no. No, no.” She pulls the doll to her and hugs it.

Antoinette spoke! The magic has worked! Suddenly, though, Jacques realises the little magic heart has disappeared. He panics.

“There’s no magic in that little lump of plastic,” the Band Leader gently tells him. “The magic is in you, Jacques. It always has been.”

The other children are watching. They want Jacques to make the doll speak to them, too. Seeing him and Antoinette make their little breakthroughs, they realise they also have the power to make good things happen.