Les maitres fous investigates one African response to colonial oppression. Around 1925 a cult was formed which went by the name of Hauka and whose members were possessed by colonial figures of power. Filmed in Accra, which was at the time the capital of the colonial Gold Coast, Les maitres fous introduces its viewers into the world of Hauka possession ceremonies – a place filled with strange rituals and sometimes shocking practices. —maitres-fous.net
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 the discovery of a society that probably doesn't exist today. Seeing that film, and many other auteurs-documentaries made half a century ago is the proof of the power of cinema because films like that are immortal. It's really powerful to go inside a culture like that and discover the intense ceremonies that are part of a cult influenced by the colonial oppression but still is able to survive with rituals.