The Living and the Dead Ensemble

IndieLisboa 2020 •

France, United Kingdom, Haiti, Documentary, 2020, 132′

In 2017, the director Louis Henderson and the producer Olivier Marboeuf went to Haiti to work with a group of artists on the translation to Haitian Creole and the rehearsing of a play. This was Édouard Glissant’s “Monsieur Toussaint”, about the last days of the Haitian revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture. From this work, as well as improvisation moments, the film was born. A shared authorship work of resurrection and historical redemption.

Toussaint Louverture was the great leader of the Haitian revolution. He was decisive for the independence of the country that took place already after his death, becoming the first black independent republic of the Americas. In the promise of that revolution what Haiti is there today? How do young people in the country feel the responsibility of the Haitian hero descendancy? In a collective, polyphonic film, inhabited by hallucination and promise of future, the theatre group The Living and the Dead Ensemble translates into Haitian Creole and stages Édouard Glissant’s play “Monsieur Toussaint”. This is about Louverture’s last days locked in his cell in the Jura Mountains, in the Alps, haunted by ghosts of the revolutionary past. But the most important Haitian literary and culture figure is the spiral. Therefore, the film writes itself and pours from every place. And the characters of Haitian historical pantheon come to haunt the actors who work and live the play in Port-au-Prince. (Carlos Natálio)