“C’est bon de vous dzire, It’s good to tell you…” Missouri’s French Creoles captured their listeners’ attention with these words. From this single point of departure, their eclectic folktales unfurl in a dazzling variety of directions. Legends of survival and cunning, humorous fantasies, and gruesome cautionary tales, the stories contain the wisdom and vitality of the culture.
TOUJOURS ICITTE: THE FOLKLORE OF THE MISSOURI FRENCH CREOLES is a feature-length documentary that explores the permeable boundaries between history and fiction within this community. Balancing video footage with animations of traditional folktales and historical episodes, this film examines the ways in which a culture is revealed and maintained by its stories.
By the time the forces of assimilation reached them in the 1920s, the Creoles concentrated around Old Mines, Missouri, had preserved their ancestors’ language and customs for over 200 years. Today, the loss of the French language has eroded the community’s collective memory and sense of identity, yet they persist. Missouri’s French Creoles have had to adapt, as they continue to identify with and celebrate their heritage. They have a saying, “On est toujours icitte, We’re still here.”