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 World premiere 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 byThe Living and the Dead Ensemble
CinematographyLouis Henderson, Diana Vidrascu
EditingLouis Henderson
MusicJoão Polido
Sound DesignGabor Ripli
SoundAndré Fevre, Jean Marcaisse Bellegarde, Roudie Rigaud Marcelin
ProducerOlivier Marboeuf
Executive ProducerSarah Perks
Co-producersLouis Henderson, Cédric Walter
Co-productionHOME, Manchester

Produced by

Spectre Productions

Rennes, France

+33 6 20432860

World sales


Rennes, France

+33 6 20432860

The Living and the Dead Ensemble

The ensemble produces texts, performances, films and installations, through which the group’s members make palpable the cultural richness and history of Haiti as the first independent black republic in America. Ouvertures, based on an idea by Louis Henderson and Olivier Marboeuf, is their first film. Its members include Léonard Jean Baptiste, Mackenson Bijou, Rossi Jacques Casimir, Dieuvela Cherestal, James Desiris, James Fleurissaint, Louis Henderson, Cynthia Maignan, Sophonie Maignan, Olivier Marboeuf and Mimétik Nèg.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020