Artists' Film - 05 Dec 2017

Overtures: I build my language with rocks

Édouard Glissant's 1961 play Monsieur Toussaint reimagined as a slam battle, swerving between Haitian Creole and French (for a performance at the Ghetto Biennale)

6:02

In Louis Henderson and Olivier Marboeuf’s research for a film on Édouard Glissant's 1961 Monsieur Toussaint, recorded in Port-au-Prince this year, the play is translated into Haitian Creole, unpicking the complex history of Haiti’s languages and national heroes. In this scene, Haitian actors Rossi Casimir and Léonard Jean Baptiste rap lines from a scene in which Jean-Jacques Dessalines argues with Granville, who accuses the former of betraying Toussaint Louverture to their French enemies. The translated play will be performed at this year’s Ghetto Biennale (24 November – 18 December 2017) in Port-au-Prince, and the final film will be shot next year. Read Rob Sharp’s feature on the making of the performance.