The Haitian revolution was a test case for the ideals of the French Revolution: What does the promise that all men are brothers who enjoy the same inviolable rights even mean as long as colonies and slavery exist? Nothing, according to the enslaved inhabitants of Haiti, who rebelled against the owners of the sugar cane plantations in 1791. In 1961, Antillean writer Édouard Glissant dedicated his play "Monsieur Toussaint" to their leader Toussaint Louverture, which in turn serves as the basis for Ouvertures. Louis Henderson, Olivier Marboeuf and the theatre group The Living and The Dead Ensemble film themselves rehearsing the play in Port-au-Prince. The result is an experiment in three parts: a study retracing Louverture’s steps, an analysis of shared authorship and collective filmmaking and finally the outburst of a magical reality in which the spirits of the dead are alive.
by The Living and the Dead Ensemble
with Jude Joseph, Jephté Carmil, James Fleurissaint, Rossi Jacques Casimir, Dieuvela Cherestal, Cynthia Maignan, James Desiris, Léonard Jean Baptiste, Mackenson Bijou, Mimétik Nèg
United Kingdom / France 2020 Haitian Creole, French 132’ Colour Documentary form


  • Jude Joseph (Voice Over)
  • Jephté Carmil (Researcher)
  • James Fleurissaint (Toussaint Louverture)
  • Rossi Jacques Casimir (Jean-Jacques Dessalines)
  • Dieuvela Cherestal (Madame Toussaint)
  • Cynthia Maignan (Maman Dio)
  • James Desiris (Rigaud)
  • Léonard Jean Baptiste (Granville)
  • Mackenson Bijou (Macaïa)
  • Mimétik Nèg (Mackandal)


Written and Directed by The Living and the Dead Ensemble
Cinematography Louis Henderson, Diana Vidrascu
Editing Louis Henderson
Music João Polido
Sound Design Gabor Ripli
Sound André Fevre, Jean Marcaisse Bellegarde, Roudie Rigaud Marcelin
Producer Olivier Marboeuf
Executive Producer Sarah Perks
Co-Producers Louis Henderson, Cédric Walter
Co-Production HOME Manchester

World sales


The Living and the Dead Ensemble

The Living and the Dead Ensemble are a group of artists, performers, and poets from Haiti, France, and the United Kingdom. They initially came together in Haiti in 2017 to produce the Haitian Creole translation and performance of the play "Monsieur Toussaint" by Édouard Glissant. Initiated from an original idea by Louis Henderson and Olivier Marboeuf, who have been collaborating as a director/producer partnership since 2014, the Ensemble’s first film Ouvertures was premiered at the Berlinale Forum 2020. Their work explores the influence of Haiti, the first independent Black republic of the Americas, in the history and present of the Caribbean as well as in western modernity.
The Ensemble are: Mackenson Bijou, Rossi Jacques Casimir, Dieuvela Cherestal, James Desiris, Louis Henderson, Léonard Jean Baptiste, Cynthia Maignan, Sophonie Maignan, Olivier Marboeuf, Mimétik Nèg.


2020 Ouvertures; 132 Min., Forum 2020 2021 The Wake

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022