Even though I love me some jollof rice with fish, watching this I realized just how much we forget to talk about the relationships between African citizens and water, outside of the usual “build a well” / “Nestle poisons babies” narratives. I guess this is due to conflicts in land-locked zones, as well as the need to exoticize. In my mind I was juxtaposing this to whaling rituals of the West: our planet rhyming.
I just enjoyed the feeling of being immersed in this fascinating place. Despite its inherent subjectivity, I think Rouch's approach as an "observer" is his best attempt at being fair. I appreciate that.
Loved the release into narrationlessness and spacious editing rhythms. Formally, the feeling with that shift flowing out to the end of the film put me in mind of Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday where the sea gets the last word?/washes words away? *(2 Rouch films in, they are beyond my usual ways of thinking about art. Star rating is just a placeholder until I can start to wrap my head around this series, if I can at all.)
The sea is my goddess (after Kerouac)...I'm glad to read that Rouch's camera wasn't an imperialist one, because, unfortunately too often (even today) there is the tendency to exploit foreign culture for (profitable or simply mere) novelty...you can almost tell (through the BEAUTIFUL photography) that Rouch is just as enamored of his subject as they are of the sea...
Why does the English title lack the formalism of the French title? I hope it's not an attempt to appeal to American Jim Crow-era stereotypes of Mammies. Otherwise, brilliant photography and precise narration. Missed the voice over when it stopped 3/4 of the way through. Would have appreciated some information on the fish market itself. Beautiful sails on those 3-man boats.
I enjoy documentaries about people working, so this fit the bill. However, it felt a bit slight. At the time, Mammy Water would have provided people access to images and ideas that they could not get on TV, but now that is not the case. Yes, the color film gives it a certain feel, but I wonder if the movie and others like it are now experienced as aestheticized nostalgia, rather than approached on their own terms.