No outside figure has contributed more to the cinema of francophone West Africa than Jean Rouch. Yet, much as he devoted his life’s work to subverting the power dynamics of the anthropological gaze, his influence does not only flow one way. For it was his films – and not only his, given the crucial roles played by his African collaborators – that in turn helped bring a new language to French cinema. None of those films better symbolise the complexities of that exchange than Petit á Petit.
March 19, 2016