Rouch In Reverse

Though not entirely satisfying, Manthia Diawara’s 1995 video documentary about innovative French anthropological filmmaker Jean Rouchwhich intermittently attempts to practice a reverse anthropology on Rouch himselfis an invaluable introduction to the great late filmmaker. Diawara, a critic and film professor at New York University who hails from Mali, knew Rouch for years and struggles admirably to balance the filmmaker’s unquestionable achievements (including his role as a precursor of and guru to the French New Wave) with his paternalism toward Africansan attitude that was arguably progressive 20, 30, or 40 years ago, when most of Rouch’s masterpieces were made, but is harder to rationalize today. Diawara fails to resolve the conflict, but he articulates it as honestly as possible. 52 min. (JR)

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