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Heroes of the Modern World

Heroes of the Modern World

(p.67) 5: Heroes of the Modern World
The Adventure of the Real
University of Chicago Press

Migration from rural to urban areas intensified in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa in the period immediately after the Second World War. This was a social phenomenon of major importance and the colonial governments of the time were prepared to provide generous funding for research into its causes and effects. Jean Rouch was one of those engaged to do this research, and from 1954 to 1960 was supported by a combination of the CNRS, IFAN, and various multinational colonial research agencies set up to coordinate scientific programs in countries south of the Sahara. In October 1953, he set out from Paris to travel overland to West Africa, accompanied by his wife Jane. They entered the Gold Coast in February 1954 where they remained until Rouch's return to France in January 1955. During this period, Rouch made three major films that dealt directly with the experience of the migrants: Les Maîtres fous, Jaguar, and Moi, un Noir. This chapter focuses on the films Les Maîtres fous and Jaguar.

Keywords:   Jean Rouch, migration research, sub-Saharan Africa, ethnographic filmmakers, filmmaking, migrants, Les Maîtres fous, Jaguar

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