The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

Film Explains Haitian History and Pumpkin Soup


Photo:
Written by: Tracy Fields
Article Rating

‘Tis the season for pumpkin: the big orange squash is everywhere, in stores, drinks, fragrances, decorations. It’s Halloween tradition. But there’s another pumpkin tradition with which you may not be familiar.

Haitians celebrate New Year’s Day with soup joumou, a concoction of pumpkin, beef, onions, garlic and more. Why? “Liberty in a Soup,” a documentary premiering Oct. 9, explains.

Filmmaker Dudley Alexis says the project was inspired four years ago by a chatty Las Vegas cab driver. “He asked where I was from, I said I was from Haiti,” says Alexis, 32, who moved to South Florida in 1999. “We started to talk about the Haitian revolution.He was talking about how he was a big fan of Haitian culture. Surprisingly, he knew about the soup.”

Before 1804, soup joumou was a forbidden delicacy, prepared by enslaved people but only to be consumed by their owners. A successful struggle for independence changed that.

It all starts with the historic revolt in the rich French agricultural colony of Saint-Domingue, when in August 1791, the power structure was shocked by a well-organized uprising of enslaved people. On Jan. 1, 1804, a counsel of generals named Jean-Jacques Dessalines governor-general of an independent Haiti (Toussaint L’Ouverture, the noted leader for much of the struggle, had been taken by the French and died in prison the year before.)

But there’s much more to the story, which features political power games; shifting alliances; deception and death estimates as high as 350,000, from illness as well as fighting. “The way I see the Haitian revolution was as one of the first revolutions that redefined human rights,” says Alexis, noting that the rebellion had led “not only to the abolition of slavery in the colony but changed how people defined human rights. And the word of the revolution spread everywhere.”

In the Western Hemisphere, Haiti was the second nation after the United States to throw off a European power and seize independence, making it the second oldest democracy here as well as the world’s first black republic.

After his encounter with the cabbie, a few months of conversation with friends and encouragement from his father, Alexis decided to proceed with the documentary, which was filmed on location. “That same year I went to Haiti to do my first kind-of shoot, and I started going to Haiti more often to do research,” he recalls.

Financing was a problem. “I had to pawn a few things that I owned so that I could buy the tickets,” he says, adding that this was the first time he’d been to a pawn shop – and that he was not able to reclaim all of his possessions.

Also, Haiti was trying to recover from the devastating earthquake of early 2010. “Because I said it was about the soup, people had problems and were really skeptical about the whole project,” Alexis says. “Because it wasn’t about helping Haiti, people were not interested in helping me with the project.”

But he persisted and says the completed film has surprised many doubters. “There’s more than a lot of the people were expecting and the feedback has been great.”

After the premiere, Alexis plans to take “Liberty in a Soup” on the road, showing it at schools and colleges. He’s raising money for the tour, which will begin here in South Florida with stops at St. Thomas and Barry universities.

“Liberty in a Soup” premieres at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59 Terr. Admission is free but you must register for tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/liberty-in-a-soup-premiere-screening-at-the-little-haiti-cultural-center-tickets-27461090862.

 


Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer

{module_webapps,16730,i,{tag_writer_id}}

Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami has been on a trajectory best described as meteoric. In its first 18 months DDTM has been a 2017 Knight Challenge Grant recipient and now will debut at New Y..

Amirah Sackett came up as a dancer in Chicago’s hip hop scene at a time when women were rare in the mostly male community. But she also visibly stood out as a Muslim. She keeps her hair cover..

Inside the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, where Dance Now! Miami is in residence, there is a hub of activity as the company prepares for its performance on Saturday night of Contemporanea 201..

One of the signatures of the National Water Dance project since its inception seven years ago was that dance troupes, large or small, professional or school groups, were free to perform whate..

Miami City Ballet is in league with Russians – in a good way -- and this promises to make a selection of dances look great again. The company’s final program this season brings back Apollo an..

Hidden behind a busy street in North Miami Beach is the Ancient Spanish Monastery, where Dance Now! Miami will bring the past into the present – and back into the past. Ekphrasis describes th..

Sometimes dance seems as easy as walking down the street. John Heginbotham, founder and artistic director of Dance Heginbotham, describes his dancers as moving in an unaffected, natural manne..

On the heels of a year-plus parade of #MeToo confessions, celebrity shamings and women’s marches, comes Marisa Alma Nick’s female-power-packed “A Rebel in Venus.” “It wasn’t planned that ..

Choreographers are usually curious people. Augusto Soledade’s curiosity leads him in many directions, including ideas on Madonna, voguing, and selfies. It all began with “thoughts on identity..

M. John Richard has never hung back from the challenges that shape a life. Not when a knee injury ended his dreams of playing football at Syracuse University. Not when he was persuad..

For many choreographers, a new project is an opportunity to dig into fresh ideas. But for local choreographer Pioneer Winter, his latest work “Reprise” returns to the same terrain he has been..

There are few shortcuts for anyone hoping to make it in ballet, but for black dancers that road has always been particularly arduous. A lack of access to training, scant rewards, and cultura..

For sheer pageantry, there are few dance companies that can rival the Ballet Nacional de España. In its 40th season, with 40 dancers and 11 musicians, Spain’s effusive, no-holds-barred love l..

When the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to town this week, Miami native son Jamar Roberts will take center stage. As one of the company’s star dancers, he has long shined as a performer. B..

He says his dance comes from his dreams. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi’s most recent work, “What the Day Owes the Night” combines Sufi rhythms with cutting edge b-boy moves, class..

A world premiere always comes with a drum roll. And, throughout the years, Miami City Ballet has brought to light its fair share of resounding new works. Still, Brian Brooks’ freshly-minted O..

Wednesday night at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall the South Florida Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance company presented “Appalachian Spring Suite” and “The R..

Cooking may be Dan Froot’s favorite thing. This is saying a lot since Froot is also a composer, a dancer, a sax-player, a play-wright, an oral-historian -- an all-around performance artist an..

With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..

Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..

Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..

It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..

The end of the 19th century was a golden age for ballet. In 15 years of collaboration, two great Russian geniuses – choreographer Marius Petipa, and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky – produced ballet st..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

Ira Sullivan has been a musician for a long time. His father, part of a large musical family, was in the restaurant business. But he played trumpet for fun and stored his horn behind the couch, Su..

The music of Thelonious Monk has been a source of endless fascination and with good reason. Monk’s universe has its own laws. Beautifully constructed and quirky, soulful but also paced by br..

The first time the Amernet performed “The Seven Last Words of Christ” during Holy Week – the week leading up to Easter -- the string quartet played in darkness. Just hours before, cellist Jas..

Drummer Dafnis Prieto and pianist Omar Sosa closed this year’s Global Cuba Fest at the Light Box in Wynwood, Miami, with shows on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17 that suggested a sort of mus..

Mention flamenco and the immediate associations are with dancing, singing and the guitar. The piano has a rather tentative history in flamenco. While some scholars include the instrument in p..

The ancient Japanese art of Taiko drumming comes to Miami this Friday, with Tao: Drum Heart, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has gone on to tour internationally, getting ..

It’s not by chance that the music of Cuban drummer, composer, educator and bandleader Dafnis Prieto unfolds with such purpose. An accidental immigrant in 1999 — he was living with ..

In the music of Las Cafeteras and Orkesta Mendoza, presented by Fundarte at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Saturday, the border is no place for walls but rather, a moveable feast. ..

Performance Hall at New World Center was packed Saturday, Feb. 3 for the New Work program, which NWS conductor and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas introduced as “one of the more adve..

"Nosotros sentimos, y pensamos que Jennifer y Carlos sienten igual, que Miami finalmente ha llegado a posicionarse como una verdadera ciudad cultural donde continuamente se presentan compañías imp..

El grupo de danza contemporánea Brazzdance dirigido por su fundador, el coreógrafo Augusto Soledade, se presentó el sábado 31 de marzo en el Carnival Studio Theatre del Arsht Center de Miami...

La undécima edición del Flamenco Festival que se desarrolló del jueves 8 al domingo 11 de marzo en el Arsht Center resultó ser un hermoso reencuentro con el Ballet Nacional de España (BNE), u..

Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida (ABTF) y su escuela de ballet adjunta, ambas bajo la dirección de Vladimir Issaev, se encuentran por estos días entregadas de lleno a la celebración del bicente..

El lugar privilegiado que ocupa Miami hoy en día en el mundo de la danza no tiene discusión. Además de contar con una vibrante oferta local de proyección internacional que dura todo el año y ..

Después de una serie de actuaciones muy exitosas en varias ciudades del Este del país, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) llega a Miami para ofrecer seis presentaciones del jueves 22 ..

La ofensiva espontánea protagonizada por BalletBoyz y Cie. Herve Koubi el fin de semana pasado en teatros de Fort Laudedarle y Miami, con dos propuestas artísticas absolutamente fuera de seri..

La atracción principal del tercer programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) que se presentó el fin de semana pasado en el Arsht Center fue el estreno mundial de One Line ..

Llegados en vuelo directo desde Inglaterra, BalletBoyz (Premio Nacional de Danza 2013 a la Mejor Compañía Independiente) ofrecerá el sábado 10 de febrero una función patrocinada por Culture Shock ..