At 9:05 pm, on France 3. How hard it is, the story that Stéphane Bern tells this evening… How could it be otherwise since it is about Toussaint Louverture, the man who opened the way to freedom in the Caribbean colonies. On this national day of memories of the slave trade and slavery and their abolition, the presenter has chosen to show us Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), the first French colony to gain independence in 1804, the port of La Rochelle, the nerve center of the transatlantic trade, and the snow-capped heights of the Jura, where this man born a slave, who became a genius general and politician, was imprisoned.

Born puny in 1743, Toussaint Louverture was fortunate to belong to a freed family. He was not “in the furnace of slavery,” notes one of the experts. In many ways, this proud, shrewd strategist and puffed-up man resembles Bonaparte. This issue of “Secrets of History” plunges us into a time of incredible violence, where life expectancy in the plantation workshop does not exceed 10 years.

In these sordid places, the machines that crush the sugarcane are only stopped long enough to extract the bodies that are stuck there. The horror began long before, in the slave ships. A few rare documents bear witness to the conditions in which men, women and children, crammed into every nook and cranny of the ships, make the crossing amid excrement and vomit. In his logbook, alongside the weather observations, the captain notes his rapes and the number of deaths. Macabre accounting, which Toussaint Louverture helped to put an end to.

“Toussaint Louverture History Secrets: freedom at all costs …”, magazine presented by Stéphane Bern. (1h46)

At 8:50 pm, on France 5. Max Cady, an impulsive and violent man, is sentenced for rape of a minor. During his sentence, he discovers that his lawyer, Sam Bowden, court clerk, did not use information that might have enabled him to benefit from extenuating circumstances. Once released, reassembled, he harasses Bowden and his family, and is more and more threatening …

“Les Nerfs à vive” is a remake of a film of the same title, made almost three decades earlier. In the original, Robert Mitchum played the character that De Niro takes on. A real challenge for the latter, forced to play the card of excess in order to forget his illustrious predecessor. The latter is also part in a supporting role, along with two other actors present in the original version, Gregory Peck and Martin Balsam. A tribute voluntarily rendered by Martin Scorsese, who ultimately delivers an undeniably effective thriller, but not always very original.

“Les Nerfs à vive”, an American thriller by Martin Scorsese (1991), with Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis… 2h5

At 9:15 p.m., on C8. It is fashionable these days to make fun of Sylvester Stallone. The actor was however immensely popular, including in France, in particular during the years 1980. This second part of the saga “Rambo”, the best according to many, had attracted nearly 6 million spectators in 1985 in our country, and it remains the film of Stallone having obtained the best reception with us.

It must be said that, for those who love action, this feature film is a kind of yardstick. We see the ex-soldier, imprisoned at the end of the story told in the first episode, being contacted by his former superior, who suggests that he return to Vietnam for a suicide mission: to try to deliver prisoners of war. Americans still detained. The broken and hated soldier of the first “Rambo” society here becomes a quasi-superhero, hypermuscular and armed with as much weapon as testosterone. The violent scenes follow one another, some of which have become legendary (camouflage in nature). Mission accomplished !

“Rambo 2: The Mission”, Mexican-American action film by George P. Cosmatos (1985), with Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Julia Nickson, Charles Napier … (2h5)

At 8:30 p.m., on LCP. It was forty years ago, to the day, this pixelated face that appears line by line on the screen, François Mitterrand is elected President of the Republic. “We wanted the tension to remain until the last moment, that down to the nose we wouldn’t know who had won,” said Jean-Pierre Elkabbach.

“And there he said Champagne. As long as he did not have the sanctuary of television, he did not consider himself elected president ”, recalls Jacques Ségala, alongside the new president at the hotel Au Vieux-Morvan, in Château-Chinon (Nièvre) . It was there that he spent this historic day, which this documentary, full of first-rate testimonies, recounts to us in fine detail. Jean Glavany, his chief of staff, the journalist Ivan Levaï, present in the Morvan, who try to write his first speech, but also Martine Storti, the journalist who travels to Paris in the car of the elected candidate . At the Bastille, the party is in full swing with a cheerful crowd sporting roses under downpours. “What a story,” Mitterrand keeps saying.

“May 10, 1981, the day of the big evening”, an unreleased French documentary by Emmanuel Ostian and Stéphane Rossi (2021). 52 minutes.

At 9:05 pm, on France 4. Quirky, colorful and frenzied, the meeting between Zabou Breitman, Feydeau and the actors of the Comédie-Française could only be explosive. Scalded by a fickle first husband, Angèle (Julie Sicard) conceived an unhealthy jealousy and watches like milk on fire her new husband Ribadier (Laurent Lafitte). But it is because he has a system, Ribadier, which hypnotizes his wife before going to join his mistress …

Everything is going for the best until the arrival of Thommereux (Laurent Stocker), former suitor of Madame whom Ribadier thinks clever to confide in… So much for the start, the rest is a fireworks display combining excess and subtleties of the game In Breitman sauce, the already well-oiled mechanics of the vaudeville master gain in nervousness. Energetic, this “Ribadier System” is mind-blowing. And very funny.

“Le Système Ribadier”, a play by Georges Feydeau, directed by Zabou Breitman with Laurent Lafitte, Laurent Stocker, Julie Sicard, Martine Chevallier… 1 h 45.