In a fortress and, surrounded by his inner circle, a democratically elected president prepares himself for a state ceremony. Many dignitaries and foreign guests are expected to attend the event. However, when the day of the ceremony dawns, the president finds his country in turmoil. The whole nation is in the grips of a riot that has broken out overnight and, one after another, the foreign guests are obliged to bow out of the ceremony.
Raoul Peck: “With this film I wanted to explore the often hidden side of power. An occasion, no doubt, for me to revisit my own political experiences in Haiti and elsewhere. What’s the final day like for a man with unrestrained power, whose supremacy has never been challenged, who is now plunging dizzyingly into a black hole of events he cannot control? I wanted to explore what happens behind closed doors, during a tragic and unruly ‘Farewell to Arms’, when everything becomes possible and irretrievable at the same time? Redemption as well as demise. During these minute gaps in history, a person crudely reveals their true essence, their fears, and their desires – and there is no time left for craftiness. With this film, I also wanted to return to my own country. I wanted to re-examine, from a Shakespearian perspective, the tragic and foolish nonsense of the past sixty years of upheaval. Nowhere else but in Haiti has reality generated so much confusion and so many contradictions.”