The Dictator’s Fruit

Institute History

  • 1999 June Screenwriters Lab


How do people grow up damaged? Where do they come from, those personal demons or, more intimately, the man or woman who tortures us in love? THE DICTARTOR'S FRUIT follows the young life of Lucio, a boy who, born on the terrorized island that was Duvalier's Haiti, grows into a fast-paced, sometimes self-destructive adolescent. Twice becoming an unwitting creation; as that of a sadistic, unloving father and absent mother, than as the seeding of the tyrannical climate into which he is born. Searching for home and identity after being uprooted from his native land to a far away wintry Alpine town in Northern Europe, Lucio's journey is complicated by the influence and heritage of two very different cultures and races.

He is the charismatic leader of the local boys and the raging heartthrob of every girl while he faces an intensely cruel home-life. He flees its raging dysfunction in favor of the silent mountains outdoors, but he becomes increasingly dissatisfied and asocial. On the razor's edge of explosion, Lucio risks his very life for just a taste of the intoxicating presence of love, in whatever from her can find. His slavery to idyll strings him along the empty solace of Northern Italy, the romantic city of Paris, and finally America, where Lucio comes to embrace his stigmatizing misery as one in a million, just another in a plethora of daily struggles and strife. In his odyssey are some of the trademarks of his era: hippie communes, student demonstrations, drugs and the requisite free-love encounters. Lucio finds an ironic peace after the revelatory trip to America whose numerous homeless, derelicts and displaced immigrants waken him to a reality he is not compelled to escape.

This story explores the myth of the well love but suffering rebel in a society that trades self-fulfillment and family for conformity and negligent political and personal complacency. We discover as we watch Lucio stumble perilously and terribly alone, how fragile is the bond between those we propose to provide and care for and the road taken by them when we turn our back to them. If Lucio survives the road, it's because, unlike the dreamy, cloudy-headed Icarus before him, he finds the wings of his own design to traverse it.


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