Sunday, March 26, 1995

Origins of Cinéma Verité

Two by Jean Rouch

San Francisco Art Institute

Jean Rouch’s Chronicle of a Summer – Paris 1960 (1961, with Edgar Morin) helped launch both cinéma verité and the French New Wave. A seminal figure in ethnographic film, Rouch took his camera to the streets of Paris during a period of political turmoil and the Algerian War to search for truth through interactions with Parisians of various ethnic and social backgrounds. Rouch’s earlier, controversial Les Maîtres Fous (1955) documents a trance ritual in West Africa which incorporates and parodies aspects of British colonialism. It has both been accused of racism and lauded as an expose of colonialism.