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UPDATES On Philippe Niang’s “Toussaint L’Ouverture” Film Starring Jimmy Jean-Louis, Aïssa Maïga, Sonia Rolland

UPDATES On Philippe Niang's "Toussaint L'Ouverture" Film Starring Jimmy Jean-Louis, Aïssa Maïga, Sonia Rolland

S&A French speakers stand up! I’m going to need your help with this one.

Below is a recent news report (uploaded to YouTube just yesterday, the 15th) from a TV station in Martinique, profiling Philippe Niang’s Toussaint L’Ouverture film that got the black blogosphere uber-excited about 3 weeks ago when I posted its first trailer here on S&A.

As a recap Jimmy Jean-Louis stars as the title character in what will be a 2-part TV-movie, and he’s joined by French actresses Aïssa Maïga (Paris, Je T’Aime, Bamako) as Toussaint’s wife, Suzanne, and Sonia Rolland (Moloch Tropical, Midnight In Paris) as Marie-Eugénie Sonthonax, wife of abolitionist L.F. Sonthonax.

Expected to air in on French TV sometime in 2012, we didn’t have a specific release date as of our last post on the film, nor whether we can expect the film to travel. But we know more today, via the clip below; and that’s where I need our French-speaking readers to assist, as the entire news report is in French, without subtitles.

I understand a wee-bit of the language, so I was able to translate bits and pieces here and there, but not enough to give you all the full story.

What I did gather is that, ealier this month, a preview screening of the film was held in Martinique (where I understand the film was partly shot), and, as you’ll see below, the audience in attendance seemed to approve of what they saw. 

Also of note, I was able to understand that the film will screen in at least 2 upcoming film festivals – specifically, the Festival des Créations Télévisuelles de Luchon (essentially a television festival in Luchon, which takes place from February 8 – 12 in southwestern France) and Vues D’Afrique Festival, which takes place from April 27 – May 6 in Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa

I think a third festival is mentioned, but I’m not able to translate.

Lastly, the 2-part mini-series is scheduled to air on TV screens (in Martinique anyway) on May 22nd of this year, at 7:30pm.

And that’s about the gist of what I got from the clip. 

Again, French-speakers please feel free to jump in and fill in what I missed.

But it looks like those of you who live in any of the areas I mentioned in this post (Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Southern France, Martinique) will have an opportunity to see the film in the next 3 to 4 months, whether on TV, or on the big screen at a festival.

And if you do see the film, please come back and share your thoughts.

The rest of us will have to wait…

Here’s the TV report (and underneath is the film’s first official trailer once again, if you missed it the first time):

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C. Laurent

The film was shown on French Channel France2 last tuesday 14 February and wednesday 15 Feb. The second part was followed by a debate.

The film is meant for a large audience as it just gives an overlook of the complicated history of Haiti during Toussaint's time, in particular conerning the various alliances woven and unwoven depending on each group's interestsamong pro-revolutionary, partisans of the "ancien régime", abolitionnists, pro-slavery, rich planters, poor whites, blacks, slaves or freed, and mulattos.
Also, the fact of not mentioning Pétion , a figure as important as Christophe and Dessalines in the revolutionary process and the war against the Napoleon troops, demonstrates the manicheism of the approach.
Pedagocically speaking, it is a very good initiative, in particular for French kids as this part of "French" history (and not only Haitian) is passed over in silence.


Updates… for Toussaint Louverture
The French Guyanese Actor Stany COPPET also appears in this film as the General Rigaud, rival of Toussaint Louverture himself.
Please also note that the the two 90 minutes episodes will be presented to the American audience during the Pan African FIlm Festival 2012 (Feb 9th- Feb 20th).


Hey S&A! Quick recap from a French speaker S&A addict:
The two 90 minutes episodes premiered in Martinique the day before the TV report was broadcasted. The mini-series was partly filmed in Martinique in June 2011. The film has been selected to screen at the"Festival de Luchon" in France ( , the "Festival International des Programmes Audiovisuels de Biarritz" ( in France in late January and at the festival "Vues d'Afrique" in Montreal in May . The 2 episodes will be broadcasted on TV on the 22nd of May in Martinique.

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