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Rouch in Reverse (1995)

| Documentary
Malian filmmaker and New York University professor, Manthia Diawara critiques visual anthropology through the work of Jean Rouch.

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Malian filmmaker and New York University professor, Manthia Diawara critiques visual anthropology through the work of Jean Rouch.

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Ethnographic film-making turned on its head
16 June 2006 | by (aberdeen, scotland) – See all my reviews

Diawara's monotonous academic delivery creates a satisfying counterpoint to Rouch's flamboyant exuberance in this engaging dialogue between post-colonial francophone Africa and its previous ruling power, France. All too often in traditional modes of cinema is the European viewer empowered with a distanced gaze into African culture, establishing Africa as either a villainous 'other' or merely the subject of study. This film, as the title suggests, reverses this relationship and, through an analysis of the life and body of work of ethnographic film-maker Jean Rouch, opens up for discussion the state of contemporary Franco-African society very much from an African perspective. The skimpy running time and low production quality extract from its validity as an important advancement in African cinema and make the film seem more like a bonus feature on a DVD. However, Rouch fans will not be disappointed as he discusses his films and general outlook on life with passion and honesty. Overall Rouch in Reverse is a must see for anyone interested in post-colonial studies. Diawara treats Rouch with the same intrigue as Rouch did the small African community in Les Maitres Fous.


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