Kanaval sos

New Orleans Film Society New Orleans, LA


Monica Cazes

Licensed Professional Counselor

Kanaval— Secondary trauma is complex [VIRTUAL]

This insightful discussion between NOFS Artistic Director Clint Bowie and Monica Cazes, a Licensed Professional Counselor based in New Orleans delves into the complexities of trauma depicted in the film and its profound implications for individuals and communities alike.

Monica explores the concept of “secondary trauma,” which arises from indirect exposure to traumatic events, a phenomenon experienced by the lead protagonist in Kanaval. Drawing from her extensive experience working with individuals dealing with addiction recovery, relationship issues, and trauma, Monica discusses how traumatic stress can lead to lasting changes within certain brain areas. Additionally, she sheds light on the effects of secondary trauma and its impact on individuals’ mental and emotional well-being.

This event is part of our 2024 National Evening of Science on Screen.

New Orleans Film Society New Orleans, LA

Film Synopsis

In the early 70s, a young boy and his mother emigrate from Haiti to in a small rural village in Quebec, where the boy makes an invisible friend.

    Rico (Rayan Dieudonné) is a curious boy, living with his schoolteacher mother Erzulie (Penande Estime) in a small port town on the coast of Haiti in 1975. During an annual celebration, and despite his mother’s warnings of danger, he slips out into the night to witness the town’s carnival celebrations. We see Kanaval — the Haitian version of Carnival — from the point-of-view of Rico, as a blending together of real and magical moments. Everything is exuberant and fascinating, until he returns home to find his beloved mother being attacked.

    Migrating to safety in a small rural town in Quebec, Rico and Erzulie try their best to get accustomed to their new world with the assistance of an older couple that warmly takes them in. While Rico tries to make sense of this snowy province, with hunting, snowmobiling, and racist bullies all around, he’s unable to grasp why his mother, still grappling with her trauma, is becoming distant from him. So he does what many six-year-olds do, and conjures up an imaginary friend, Kana, from Haitian myth, who becomes his guide to figuring out the alien world he’s found himself in.

    Photo credit: Wady Films

    About the Speaker

    Monica Cazes is a Licensed Professional Counselor based in New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology from the University of Central Florida, and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Loyola University of New Orleans. In her private practice, Full Circle Counseling, she provides therapy services for individuals regarding addiction recovery, relationship issues, and dysfunctional family dynamics through a trauma-informed lens. Prior to starting her own practice, she spent years working in the inpatient substance use world treating drug addiction and trauma.