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284 Ratings

The Human Pyramid

La Pyramide humaine

Directed by Jean Rouch
France, Cote d'Ivoire, 1961


Set in a mixed school for white and coloured pupils at Abidjan, this docu-drama shows how working together to make the film changes their attitude towards each other. The arrival of Nadine, a new student, is also the starting point for a discussion about interracial relationships.

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The Human Pyramid Directed by Jean Rouch
Late in the film it becomes clear that these daring new interactions are actually fostered by Rouch’s direct intervention into their personal lives, and as such, The Human Pyramid’s often stilted-feeling scenes are transformed into powerful mirror image reflections of the stark awkwardness of nascent, socially-radical intimacies.
April 07, 2018
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With a keen eye for the human side of landscape (a grounded ship and an abandoned villa are virtual characters) and an avid tenderness for his performers, Rouch brings tremulous drama to a long and sinuous pan shot of young lovers leaving a party for a secluded nook—and they hit their spotlights with Hollywood aplomb. A tag ending, shot later on the Champs-Élysées, winks at “Breathless”—which Rouch strongly influenced.
November 04, 2012
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The experimental dimension of the film is of prime interest, but rather than avant-garde, it is an experiment in provoked observation.
December 20, 2010
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