Jean Rouch, First Film: 1947-1991


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Technical Profile

16 mm, Colour, 26 minutes, 1991
Script : Jean Rouch
Camera and direction : Dominique Dubosc
Production: KINOFILM 1991


The first film in Jean Rouch’s filmography is not his first film at all. It was edited by a French news company, using images he had shot but organised into a very different sequence from his own. On top of that, it was accompanied by a colonialist commentary said by a sports reporter!
As we watch, Jean Rouch ad-libs a new commentary more in keeping with his images, and so, in 1991, he finally finishes his first film!

« This time, his commentary adopts a neutral, descriptive stance that contrasts with the apparent strangeness of the observed action. Because of this stance, Rouch « demystifies » the trance and presents it as a technical device. This commentary, at once detached and attentive, creates a feeling of singular familiarity with the situation. Because his gaze is distanciated, the Other is no longer described as a typical icon of a cultural difference, rigidified in a timeless representation. Each person is observed, in terms of of her or his engagement in a particular, historically determined situation, as a social agent. »
(Christian Lallier)

Press Review