From the years 1926 to 1927, Herr Marc Allégret accompanied Herr André Gide on his trip to French Equatorial Africa; in connection with this trip, Herr Gide wrote a journal called "Voyage Au Congo". Herr Allégret put the trip in images and used the same title to make his first silent film. This frenchified director would soon embark on a successful career in the talkies.
Herr Gide's book criticized openly French colonialism and financial interests of that European country in their African colonies but Herr Allégret's documentary is more focused on anthropological and ethnological aspects.
In those early silent years, to watch "Voyage Au Congo" was a kind of enlightening exercise, an excellent chance for curious audiences to discover different cultures, customs and behaviours. Audiences watched the film without reference to political matters or any controversy. Instead they saw various African tribes and how they lived their daily lives (farming, harvesting) and their own individual customs (their special soirees and dances, marriage rituals, etc).
As this German count said "Voyage Au Congo" is an interesting example of the documentary genre thanks to its didactic aspect but it must be noted that inherently in this film genre exists what this German count calls the "documentary imposture" or reality manipulation, harmless in this oeuvre that covers daily situations and uses those images only for artistic interests ( the engagement process, some tribal dances and customs ) and for the sake of illustrative film aspects but more terrible in other cases when the director changes or subverts the reality to serve his own interest.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must dance Teutonic and aristocratic dances.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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