This project is a docu-fiction film about the tragic history of the leader of the Haitian Revolution in 1791: Toussaint Louverture. In real life, Louverture died of starvation in his prison cell in the Jura Mountains and his bones were thrown into an anonymous tomb. In the film, however, I wanted to reanimate Louverture's ghost to create another story as well as a confrontation between France's colonial past and the neo-colonial present of Haiti.
The film begins with a romanticized tale of the escape of Toussaint Louverture (head of the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1802) from the Château de Joux prison in the Jura Mountains. During this escape, Louverture disappears and becomes lost in the mountains. While night descends and snow starts to fall, he looks for a cave to protect himself. The refuge he finds is the beginning of an underground river, which he follows deep under the mountain. Weary, Louverture moves toward the light at the end of the tunnel. When he exits the tunnel, night has become day and the Jura has been transformed into a tropical forest. He wanders in the forest until he meets a group of men who look like him, hunting wild pigs. As he listens to their discussion, he recognizes something from a past time: Haitian creole! His mother tongue! Where is he?
From this point on, the film takes over the ghost of Louverture, who has been convoked to the place of his birth, via a voodoo ritual. The ghost of Louverture takes the film to contemporary Haiti—rural landscapes—where the slave rebellion has begun—to the capital, Port-au-Prince. Louverture meets soldiers from the United Nations who recount the story of the statue of a pig that was mutilated by Americans, and also meets humanitarian workers who are part of a neo-liberal aid organization. Finally, the film leads us to a Haitian production of a play by CLR James : 'Toussaint Louverture, the history of the only successful slave revolt in History', a theatrical play in three acts, which takes place in a small town in the countryside.
Born in Norwich, 1983 and currently living in Paris. In 2007 Henderson received a First Class BA Honours in Film and Video from London College of Communication, and in 2013 graduated with ‘felicitations du jury’ from Le Fresnoy - Studio National des Arts Contemporains. He has shown his work nationally and internationally, including Rotterdam International Film Festival, CPH:DOX, Le Printemps de Septembre, Belo Horizonte Film Festival, Jihlava Documentary Festival, EMAF Osnabrueck, British Film Institute, Centre Pompidou, Museo Reina Sofia, Tate Modern and Whitechapel Gallery.
Henderson’s films can be categorised as documentary-fictions that engage with subjects such as post-colonialism, history, politics and anthropology. His cinema reflects on society’s cultural and material remains and as such his films are essentially archaeological; focusing on the signatures of the archaic in the contemporary.
In 2015, he received the Barbara Aronofsky Price for emerging visual artists in the 53rd edition of the Ann Arbor Festival USA and the Best European Short Film at the International Film Festival T-Mobile New Horizons in Wroclaw, Poland.
His latest films are produced by Spectre and distributed by Phantom (FR) and LUX (UK).
He lives and works in Paris.
Overtures, work in progress
Sunstone (2018) Super 16mm and HD, 16:9, Stereo Sound, 34 minutes
The Sea is History(2016) HD 16:9, Dolby 5.1, 21 minutes, 27 minutes
Black Code/Code Noir (2015) HD 16:9, Dolby 5.1, 21 minutes
All That is Solid (2014) HD 16:9, stereo, 15 minutes
Lettres du Voyant (2013) HD 16:9, Dolby 5.1, 40 minutes
Logical Revolts (2012) HD 16:9, Dolby 5.1, 44 minutes
A Walk With Nigel (2010) HD, 16:9, Stereo sound, 22 minutes