Damouré is manager of an import/export firm based in Ayorou, called Petit à Petit. He decides to involve his colleagues Lam and Illo in building an apartment block. To prepare for this task he goes to Paris to discover ‘how it is possible that people can live in houses with more than one storey’. There, Damouré discovers the curious lifestyles and thinking of the Parisian tribe, which he carefully describes in regular letters home to his colleagues.
One of them, believing him to have gone mad, sends Lam to the rescue. In Paris, Damouré and Lam buy a Bugatti convertible and meet Safi, Ariane and a ‘tramp’, Philippe. The group decides to go back to Africa and build a new house. But the two women and Philippe are unable to get used to this new life and leave. The only thing left to do for the three friends is to withdraw to a cabin on the riverbanks and meditate upon ‘modern society’. —africanfilmlibrary.com
Jean Rouch (Paris – 31 May 1917, Niger – 18 February 2004) was a French filmmaker and anthropologist.
At their best his films are about peak experiences and are densely packed with detail. They show individuals who display a creative spirit, a wholeness and excitement which are rare in any cinema and virtually unique in ethnographic films. Moreover they are not just about “primitive peoples” but also depict his own culture and always they are concerned with dynamic situations of culture change.
He is considered to be one of the founders of the cinéma vérité in France, sharing the aesthetics of the direct cinema in the US pionered by Richard Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker and Albert and David Maysles. Rouch’s practice as a filmmaker for over sixty years in Africa, was characterized by the idea of shared anthropology. Influenced by his discovery of surrealism in his early twenties, many of his films blur the line between fiction and documentary, creating a new style of ethnofiction… read more
It's not flawless... but achieves something really beautiful, it made me think about life, about modern western society, about the pursuit of happiness and asking to myself: "what is acting?". Behind the goofy stuff this film is the true meaning of ethnofiction, and so far the best work i've seen from Jean Rouch