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One of the most influential figures in documentary and ethnographic filmmaking, Jean Rouch has made more than one hundred films in West Africa and France. In such acclaimed works as Jaguar, The Lion Hunters, and Cocorico, Monsieur Poulet, Rouch has explored racism, colonialism, African modernity, religious ritual, and music. He pioneered numerous film techniques and technologies, and in the process inspired generations of filmmakers, from New Wave directors, who emulated his cinema verite style, to today’s documentarians. Cine-Ethnography is a long-overdue English-language resource that collects Rouch’s key writings, interviews, and other materials that distill his thinking on filmmaking, ethnography, and his own career. Editor Steven Feld opens with a concise overview of Rouch’s career, highlighting the themes found throughout his work. In the four essays that follow, Rouch discusses the ethnographic film as a genre, the history of African cinema, his experiences of filmmaking among the Songhay,and the intertwined histories of French colonialism, anthropology, and cinema. And in four interviews, Rouch thoughtfully reflects on each of his films, as well as his artistic, intellectual, and political concerns. Cine-Ethnography also contains an annotated transcript of Chronicle of a Summer–one of Rouch’s most important works–along with commentary by the filmmakers, and concludes with a complete, annotated filmography and a bibliography. The most thorough resource on Rouch available in any language, Cine-Ethnography makes clear this remarkable and still vital filmmaker’s major role in the history of documentary cinema.
The Ethnography of Jean Rouch. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ———. 1995. Embodying Colonial Memories: Spirit Possession, Power, and the Hauka in West Africa. New York: Routledge. Stoller, Paul, and Cheryl Olkes. 1987. In Sorcery’s Shadow: A Memoir of Apprenticeship among the Songhay of Niger. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Taussig, Michael. 1993. Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses. New York: Routledge. Ukadike, Nwachukwu Frank. 1994. Black African Cinema. Los
what they’ve recorded. If there is a problem, they can stop and take another THE CAMERA AND MAN 39 course; if things are all right, they can continue, linking together the sentences of a story that creates itself simultaneously with the action. This is what I would call the “participating camera.” The second spectator is the editor. He must never participate in the shooting but must be the second ciné-eye. Knowing nothing of the context, he can only see and hear what has been recorded, that
the rhythms of the hourglass drums, brandishing in one hand a saber (lolo) to lance or pierce the doubles of sorcerers, and in the other a branch from a euphorbia plant. This dance is a dramatic mime of a fight with the forces of evil. The magicians dance continually until the moment when one who feels himself to be the strongest enters into a trance. This trance has little in common with the state of possession previously described; the magician trembles violently, and then up from his mouth
attaché of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), with thanks to a scholarship from the “centennial of the abolition of slavery.” Together with my friends from Niger, Damouré Zika and Lam Ibrahima Dia, we had the most beautiful horseback ride that one could possibly imagine through the bush. Along the buckle of the Niger River, we relentlessly pursued the spirit traces of Si, of Sonni Ali Ber, the magician king, of Faran Make Bote, the master fisherman, or of Dongo, the spirit
visible. The men dress in women’s skirts, completely covering the trousers of the Sigui. Before going back to the village, they place themselves in a line facing east to listen to the sigi so. Then they turn to the west and then again to the east. At the village they drink the beer without sitting on their donno seats. 7th year: Songo. All of the villages and surrounding region here have become Islamized. Three men come from Iamey simply to sacrifice a male goat and a goat in front of the cave