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Between Paris and the Land of Nowhere

Between Paris and the Land of Nowhere

(p.196) 10: Between Paris and the Land of Nowhere
The Adventure of the Real
University of Chicago Press

In contrast to other leading figures of ethnographic cinema, such as Robert Gardner or David and Judith MacDougall, who have made films in several different continents, Jean Rouch returned religiously to the same relatively circumscribed part of West Africa throughout his life. Even while he was being lionized as a leading figure in the world of cinema in Paris in the 1960s, he continued to return to the region with great regularity. Through the 1960s and into the early 1970s, Rouch would shoot at least two films in West Africa every year, usually more. This chapter focuses on the films made during this period. A number of new themes and genres appeared in Rouch's West African repertoire over this period, one of which concerned social and economic development. Hunting was another theme from his earlier work that Rouch continued to explore through his filmmaking in the 1960s. But whereas his earlier films had concerned the hunting of hippopotami in the waters of the Niger River, the films of the 1960s were about the hunting of lions in the semidesert that stretches across the frontiers between Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

Keywords:   Jean Rouch, ethnographic filmmakers, filmmaking, West Africa, hunting, social development, economic development, ethnographic films

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