The character played by Will Smith in “Emancipation” is Haitian | Loop Haiti

Will Smith’s latest film “Emancipation” is inspired by a true story. Directed by Antoine Fuqua for Apple TV+’s, it is based on the life of Peter, a slave who belonged to Captain John Lyons and who managed to escape.

Peter is the name of this slave played by Will Smith in Emancipation. Nicknamed “Whipped Peter” for the multiple scars on his back. In what is Oscar-winning actor Will Smith’s latest film, Peter is a Haitian-born slave who escaped from Captain John Lyons’ plantation near Washington to Union Camp. in 1863, reports the magazine Collider.

“The film creates for Peter an absent family who must provide the narrative of the quest and also a stubbornly strong Christian faith, which he may have picked up in the United States – he is believed to have been born in Haiti”according The Guardian. In the story, Peter is Haitian, speaks Creole, but his first language was French like most slaves in Louisiana at the time.

Peter’s family in Emancipation.

“The scourged back”, the storyreal Peter?

The Collider reports that the original photo was taken on April 2, 1863. The man in the photo has been identified as Peter. He is said to have escaped from Captain John Lyons’ plantation 10 days before the photo was taken. The photo of Peter’s back would actually be created using a new type of photography. Copies of these photos were recovered and printed in the form of an engraving in Harper’s Weekly, July 4, 1863. On July 4, 2017, on the occasion of the Independence Day of the United States, this magazine publishes an article entitled “A Typical Negro”, in which he refers to the man in the photo as Gordon, a slave who trekked through swamps to get to the Union camp, slathering himself in onions to avoid slave hunters. The Collider reports that according to Harper’s Weekly, Gordon enlisted in the Union Army, was captured by Confederate soldiers, tied up, beaten and left for dead, before recovering and escaping. to go, again, in the lines of the union.

When he was interrogated at the Union Camp about his story, he said he was savagely whipped and it took him two months to recover. He also says that after that, they wanted him to believe that he had gone mad, that he burned his clothes and attempted to shoot even his wife. During this interrogation, Peter claims to have no memory of what he is accused of. His wife made the same speech.

Will Smith as Peter.

From the Haitian of the main character to the music of the film

For this film, the composer Marcelo Zarvos tells the magazine varietythat director Antoine Fuqua wanted spiritual but non-traditional music.

Director Antoine Fuqua was clear about his requests to composer Marcelo Zarvos, among other things, to convey “the sound of the forest and the ancestral sound of Pierre, but always in balance with his Christian faith. So you have the kind of European choir but also other vocal elements,” Zarvos remarked. “He wanted it to sound surreal, very spiritual and also very nightmarish. », he told Variety.

“I had a track record of a few Haitian words, but in the end it was distracting. (The choral sounds) are meant to evoke more of the texture around it, the spiritual kind of religious texture but also the communion with nature, almost like voices from the forest,” explains the composer about the complexity of the work he had to do.

The composer affirms that it was one of his collaborators, the specialist in ethnic woodwinds of Venezuelan origin, Pedro Eustache who suggested to him the one-man bamboo trumpet that is often heard in the raras, foot bands and the Rasin group. in Haiti.

The movie Emancipation had a limited release in select US theaters on Saturday, December 2, 2022. On Saturday, December 9, the movie premiered globally on the Apple TV+ streaming platform.

Allwitch Joly

The character played by Will Smith in “Emancipation” is Haitian | Loop Haiti