Rouch, Jean


Rouch, Jean
(1917-2004)
   Director. Jean Rouch was born in Paris, the son of a traveling naval officer who took his family to live in Algeria, France, Germany, and Morocco. Rouch studied civil engineering in Paris in the late 1930s, where he viewed films at the Cinémathèque Française. During that period, Parisians were fascinated with African art and artifacts. Africa was often the subject of exhibitions at the controversial Musée de L'Homme. Rouch also appreciated surrealist art, which had been inspired by African art. This interest in Africa would later characterize his filmmaking.
   Rouch halted his studies temporarily as a result of Germany's pending invasion. In 1939, in an attempt to prevent German attacks, Rouch became part of a team that exploded bridges. In 1940, he returned to his studies and added courses in anthropology taught by Marcel Griaule. The following year Rouch left Paris to serve as an engineer in France's African colonies. In Niger he met Damouré Zika, who would enable Rouch to examine Songhay traditions first-hand. After World War II, Rouch, Pierre Ponty, and Jean Sauvy traveled the Niger River and wrote articles under the name Jean Pierjean. During this exploration Rouch codirected his first film, Au pays des mages noirs, with a handheld 16 mm camera, a technique that would later influence the filmmakers of the Nouvelle Vague or New Wave.
   Rouch directed several ethnographic films in Africa, especially in the regions colonized by France. He crafted what he termed "shared anthropology," or the practice of encouraging the participation of, rather than the objectification of, people being filmed. He also provided instruction in film technology to African students, among them the Senegalese filmmaker Safi Faye. In 1955, Rouch screened one of his most famous films, Les Maîtres Fous, at the Musée de l'Homme. The film was subsequently banned in Great Britain. He also made "ethno-fiction" films such as Jaguar, and in collaboration with Oumarou Ganda in 1958, Moi, un noir. Rouch's use of handheld cameras and Ganda's improvised narration in Moi, un noir further led scholars to view Rouch as a forerunner to the New Wave. Moi, un noir was awarded the Prix Louis-Delluc in 1959. Rouch later directed La Pyramide humaine (1960), a documentary about high school students' perceptions of racism in the Ivory Coast. In 1961, Rouch and the sociologist Edgar Morin directed Chronique d'un été, which received the Prix de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival. It employed a pioneering cinéma verité style, the term a translation of Russian director Dziga Vertov's kino pravda, or "film truth." The cinéma verité style—Rouch is credited as being the first director to use the term—has also been linked, with variations, to French directors Chris Marker and Raymond Depardon.
   In 1965, Rouch contributed a sketch, titled "Gare du Nord," to the film Paris, Vu Par, a series of shorts codirected with Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, and Eric Rohmer, among others. He later directed the ethnographic film La chasse au lion à l'Arc (1965), and with Germaine Dieterlen and Gilbert Rouget, he directed Batteries Dogon (1966). In 1968, Rouch filmed Petit à petit, featuring Faye and Zika. Zika also appeared in Rouch's Cocorico Monsieur Poulet (1974). In 1969, Rouch, Henri Langlois, and Enrico Fulchignoni pioneered a doctoral program in cinema at Paris universities. He later directed a biographical short about Margaret Mead, Ciné-portrait de Margaret Mead (1977). In addition to making films, Rouch was a professor and writer.
   Rouch became the head of the Cinémathèque Française in 1985, a post he held until 1991. He continued directing; among his films were Boulevards d'Afrique (1989), codirected with Tam-Sir Doueb, Madame L'Eau (1993), Faire-part: Musée Henri Langlois (1997), and Le Rêve plus fort que la mort (2002), codirected with Bernard Surugue (2002). In the past few decades, depictions of Africans by French ethnographers have been examined with scrutiny, especially by African intellectuals. Manthia Diawara directed a playful and in-sightful reverse ethnography starring Rouch, titled Rouch in Reverse (1995). Other biographical films about Rouch include Julien Donada and Guillaume Casset's L'inventaire de Jean Rouch (1993), Jean-André Fieschi's Mosso Mosso: Jean Rouch comme si (1998), and Anne Mcintosh's Conversations with Jean Rouch (2004). Rouch died in Niger in a car accident in 2004.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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  • Rouch, Jean — (1917 2004)    Director. Jean Rouch was born in Paris, the son of a traveling naval officer who took his family to live in Algeria, France, Germany, and Morocco. Rouch studied civil engineering in Paris in the late 1930s, where he viewed films at …   Guide to cinema

  • Rouch, Jean — (May 31, 1917, Paris, France Febru­ary 18, 2004, Bimi N Konni, Niger)    After earning a Ph.D. in literature and a civil engineer­ing degree, he started a career as an ethnographer, leading him to documentary. He also was a technical adviser… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Rouch, Jean — • РУШ (Rouch) Жан (р. 31.5.1917)    франц. режиссёр. Д р философии, этнограф. Много лет провёл в Африке, где снял к/м этнографич. ф. о труде и быте афр. народов В стране чёрной магии (1946, с Ж. Сови и П. Понти), Люди и просо (1950) и др. Мн. из… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Rouch, Jean — ► (n. 1917) Realizador cinematográfico francés. Con actores no profesionales, ha ensayado un nuevo cine ideológico y etnográfico. Películas: Yo, un negro (1956 58) y La pirámide humana (1960), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rouch, Jean-Pierre — ▪ 2005       French documentary filmmaker and ethnologist (b. May 31, 1917, Paris, France d. Feb. 18, 2004, northern Niger), pioneered the cinéma vérité style and techniques, notably the use of the hand held camera. Rouch first went to Africa as… …   Universalium

  • Rouch — Rouch, Jean …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jean Rouch — Données clés Naissance 31 mai 1917 Paris (France) Nationalité Française Décès 18  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rouch — Jean Rouch Jean Rouch (né le 31 mai 1917 à Paris et décédé le 18 février 2004 au Niger) réalisateur de cinéma et ethnologue français, reste célèbre pour la pratique du cinéma direct et pour ses films ethnographiques sur des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rouch — Jean Rouch (* 31. Mai 1917; † 18. Februar 2004 in Birni N Konni) war ein französischer Regisseur. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben und Werk 2 Filme (Auswahl) 3 Zitat 4 Literatur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ROUCH (J.) — ROUCH JEAN (1917 ) Ingénieur, ethnographe et cinéaste, Jean Rouch est né à Paris. Il a commencé à se servir de la caméra pour témoigner de son expérience africaine. De cette première période témoignent de nombreux courts métrages, dont Au pays… …   Encyclopédie Universelle


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