Kanaval: A People's History of Haiti in Six Chapters

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History Documentary hosted by Eddie Hutton Mills and Leah Gordon, published by BBC broadcasted as part of BBC Arena series in 2022 - English narration

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Image: Kanaval-A-People-s-History-of-Haiti-in-Six-Chapters-Cover.jpg

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Set in the present but which tells the rich story of Haiti's past, that follows a number of carnival performers in the lead-up to, and during, the annual Jacmel Mardi Gras. The performers relate their own personal histories as well as the stories of their carnival characters, which represent moments and people from the distant, and not so distant, Haitian past. Interwoven with the interviews, testimonies and observational footage is archive material, drawn from a wide variety of sources to enhance our understanding of Haitian history and culture from the time of the indigenous Taino through to the present day. This is not the carnival of sequins and sound systems found elsewhere in the Caribbean, but a celebration of rebellion and resistance resonating through the centuries.

The lives of the indigenous Taino Indians, the Slaves' Revolt of 1791, the establishment of Haiti as the western hemisphere's first Black republic in 1804, the debt forced upon Haiti by the French, and more recently state corruption are all played out using drama and costume on the streets during Carnival - or 'Kanaval' in Haitian Kreyol. There are extravagant, many-peopled troupes that can totally overtake the streets, such as the Zel Maturin, satin-clad devils in papier-mâché masks with four-foot hinged wooden wings, which they smack together dangerously, and the Lanse Kòd, hordes of behorned, shirtless men, skin shining with an oily patina of cane spirit, syrup and charcoal, who rage through the streets, ropes in hand, before diving communally into the ocean at the end of the day. But there are also lone, idiosyncratic performers too, for whom their character and costume represent their own intensely personal spiritual visions, such as Bounda pa Bounda, who enacts a Vodou vision given to him by spirits in a dream.

Kanaval is people taking history into their own hands and moulding it into whatever they decide.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x265 CABAC Main@L4
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 23 (~2650Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: HE-AAC
  • Audio Bitrate: 160Kbps CVBR 48KHz (305Kbps peak)
  • Audio Channels: 6 (Haitian Creole)
  • Run-Time: 74 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 1
  • Part Size: 1.47 GB
  • Source: HDTV (1080i/h264 6362Kbps VBR 3.83GB)
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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