“Rouch's films can be considered a race toward presence, spurred on by the dream of capturing life as it happens." —Sam Dilorio, Film Comment
"One of the most secretly influential of all filmmakers." —Richard Brody, The New Yorker
October 2, 2017:Icarus Films is excited to announce that Eight Films By Jean Rouchwill be released on home video DVD, with select titles also available on video-on-demand, on November 14, 2017.
The new Jean Rouch box set from Icarus Films will include eight newly restored films on four discs, a 24-page booklet with two essays about Rouch and his methodology, and a new documentary about Rouch, his films, and his influence on African cinema, titled Jean Rouch, The Adventurous Filmmaker.
Jean Rouch was an inspiration for the French New Wave, and a revolutionary force in ethnography and the study of Africa. Beginning in 1955 with his most controversial film The Mad Masters through 1969’s darkly comic Little By Little, these films represent the most sustained flourishing of Rouch’s practice of “shared anthropology"—a process of collaboration with his subjects.
Astonishing on their own terms, now restored in high-definition and released for the first time, Eight Films By Jean Rouch is essential for anyone interested in better understanding the development of ethnography and the cross-currents of colonialism and post-colonial social change in Africa, as well as documentary film practice, film history, and world cinema as a whole.
The eight films are:
The Mad Masters / Les Maîtres fous (1955 / 29 minutes / 1.33:1) A possession ritual of the Hauka religious sect using the delirious techniques of "cine-trance" also doubles as a theatrical protest against Ghana’s colonial rulers. The most controversial and also the most widely celebrated work by Jean Rouch.
“One of the most profound explorations of the African view of the colonial world.” –Senses of Cinema (Read more)
Mammy Water (1956 / 19 minutes / 1.33:1) An exploration of the spiritual traditions of a fishing village on the Gulf of Guinea. When the catch is bad, villagers must honor the water spirits, or Mammy Water, with a ceremony.
Moi, Un Noir (1958 / 74 minutes / 1.33:1) A complex portrait of Nigerian migrants in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast. Winner of the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc in 1958, Moir, Un Noir marked Jean Rouch's break with traditional ethnography and his embrace of the collaborative and improvisatory strategies he called, "shared ethnography" and "ethnofiction."
“The most daring of films and the humblest.” –Jean-Luc Godard
“Moi, Un Noir was as much psychodrama as ethnographic film, even while raising the question of moi's identity.” –J. Hoberman, Artforum
The Human Pyramid (1961 / 93 minutes / 1.33:1) At a Lycée on the Ivory coast, Rouch meets with white colonial French high-school students and their black African classmates (all non-actors) and persuades them to improvise a drama.
“Groundbreaking metafiction.” –The New Yorker (Read more)
The Lion Hunters (1965 / 81 minutes / 1.33:1) Documentation of the lion hunt performed by the gow hunters of the Songhay people, shot on the border between Niger and Mali over a period of seven years.
Jaguar (1967 / 93 minutes / 1.33:1) Three young Songhay men from Niger journey to the Gold Coast (modern day Ghana). After filming the trip in mid-1950s, the four reunited a few years later to record the sound, remembering dialogue and making up commentary. Also available on iTunes and Amazon Video.
“Exuberant in its spontaneous good humor.” –Ethnographic Film
Little By Little (1969 / 96 minutes / 1.33:1) Jean Rouch’s Nigerian collaborators travel to France to perform a reverse ethnography of late-1960’s Parisian life.
“A truly mesmerizing, frequently hilarious, and provocative masterpiece.” –Indiewire
"Attacks the logic of mainstream cinema, subverting expectations about what film is and can be.” –Sam Dilorio, Film Comment
Disc 4 - Bonus Disc: Two Films!
The Punishment (1962 / 64 minutes / 1.33:1) A film by Jean Rouch An aimless young woman is sent home from school with nothing to do. Drifting through the streets of Paris, she comes across a variety of people.
Jean Rouch, The Adventurous Filmmaker (2017 / 55 minutes / 1.78:1) A film by Laurent Védrine A new documentary about Jean Rouch, his films, and his influence on African cinema.
Bonus features include: a 24-page booklet with two essays on Rouch and his methodology, HD digital restorations, and two bonus films— The Punishment by Jean Rouch and Jean Rouch, The Adventureous Filmmaker by Laurent Védrine.
EIGHT FILMS BY JEAN ROUCH Digitized and restored with the support of the Centre National du Cinéma Pre-Book Date: 10/10/17 | Street Date: 11/14/17 In French & English w/English subtitles SRP: $44.98 | UPC: 8-54565-00216-6 An Icarus Films Release
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