Encounters.co.za
 Films - Jean Rouch Retrospective

Welcome
Films A - Z
Film Categories
Outreach
Race & Identity Debate
Screening Schedules
Directors & Guests
SABC Workshop
Master Classes
Buy DVD's
Contact
Previous Years

 
Johannesburg
NU METRO HYDE PARK
14 - 23 July 2006

Cape Town
NU METRO V&A
21 July - 6 August 2006
Booking Details

 

Jean Rouch 1917–2004
An engineer, anthropologist and explorer, Rouch is probably best known for his films that chronicle extraordinary change in Africa from the early 50s, through independence and beyond. An innovative man, Rouch accidentally liberated filmmakers, he dropped his tripod in a river and had to film ‘hand-held’.

This serendipitous invention, a new style of filmmaking, he called cinema-verité (a translation of Vertov’s kino-pravda). He further developed portable and synchronous cameras and sound systems that profoundly changed practical filmmaking.

Stylistically he blurred the lines between the real and the imagined, placing himself in the film, asking questions, effectively demystifying the documentary as representative of ‘truth’ and the filmmakers’ ‘objective’ status. Rouch completed 93 films, both short and feature length, between 1946 and 1999 and had yet to complete editing on a further 26 films made between 1957 and 1985

 

 Chronicle Of A Summer (Chronique D’un Été)
France 1961 90Min Subtitled
Dirs: Jean Rouch & Edgar Moran

In this seminal and absorbing piece that heralded in cinéma vérité, Rouch and the sociologist Edgar Moran send out two market researchers to interview the citizens of Paris during the summer of 1960. They are to ask one question: Are you happy? Initially the process is light-hearted with brief, fleeting answers. But soon the film delves deeper in the most intimate emotional and intellectual lives of a few Parisians. Marceline is a Holocaust survivor, Angelo works gruelling shifts at the Renault factory, Landry is a student from Cote d’Ivoire, and young, beautiful Marilou – a depressed Italian immigrant. They then have each person interviewed critique their on-screen depiction. Filmed under the premise that you can film anything, anywhere, this film is ambitious, powerful and as relevant today as when it was first released.
Courtesy Of The French Embassy

JOHANNESBURG THU 20 6.30PM
CAPE TOWN FRI 4 6.30PM

 Little By Little (Petit à Petit)
France / Niger 1971 90Min Subtitled
Dir: Jean Rouch

On the banks of the Niger River is a highly successful enterprise called Petit à Petit. One day, news arrives of a multi-storey building being built in the capital, Niamey. This brings out the competitive instinct of the Big Boss (Zika), who assembles a board meeting and manages to convince the reluctant members that he must catch the first plane to Paris to research how Petit à Petit Inc. can build a bigger building. Whilst ostensibly gathering information about these newfangled skyscrapers, Zika traverses Paris and, in a light-hearted manner, turns the tables on colonial anthropologists. He ‘discovers’ Paris, takes measurements of the natives, and records their bizarre customs. When he sends home his findings, his fellow businessmen think he’s gone ‘bush’ and send the ex-herdsman Lam to bring him home.
Courtesy Of The French Embassy

JOHANNESBURG THU 20 6.30PM
CAPE TOWN FRI 4 6.30PM

 Mad Masters (Les Maitres Fous)
France 1955 30Min Subtitled
Dir: Jean Rouch

Shot near the end of French colonial rule, reaction to the film was strong: it was banned in Britain and the Gold Coast, but received the Grand Prix at the Venice Biennale. The film documents an annual ceremony of the religious sect, the Hauka. On a farm a few hours from Accra, ordinary labourers attend a ceremony. During the ritual, the men are ‘possessed’ by spirits – of the governor general, the wicked major, a doctor’s wife and an engine driver. In full trance, foaming at the mouth and moving strangely, a horrific comedy ensues, where the possessed are no longer oppressed and, for a day, become powerful. This incredibly potent, at times disturbing, footage looks at an extremely creative and cathartic reaction to colonial power and its integration into the belief systems of migrant workers from Niger.
Courtesy Of The French Embassy

JOHANNESBURG FRI 21 6.30PM
CAPE TOWN MON 24 8.30PM