VATI IN PORT-AU-PRINCE
A film by Percy Adlon
Produced by Eleonore Adlon
TV Producer – Benigna von Keyserlingk
Director of Photography – Willy Dobos
Editor – Sabine Ettengruber
1974, 16mm, in German with English subtitles, 43 minutes
Vati makes neon signs, and nobody bothers him about how he does it. That’s what he calls "freedom" – and freedom is in Haiti, his adopted country. His legal name is Erhard Eberwein, and he's from Saxony, in Germany. He fought at Stalingrad and was taken prisoner. After the war, he sold what was left of his parents’ business, bought an ocean-going sailing ship, and followed Columbus's route to the New World. Abandoning his wife and son in Venezuela, he turns up in Haiti to sell his ship for the capital he needs to start a new life. His wife gives up on waiting for his return and divorces him, but his son appears one day in Port-au-Prince, wearing a sign around his neck and calling out "Vati, Vati!" ("Daddy, Daddy!"). From that moment on, everybody knows him as VATI.