Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Les maîtres fous (1955)

Today's film is Les maîtres fous.  I have been thinking about this film for over a week, which is sort of a half documentary-half fiction movie.  My main question is: what was the filmmaker's intention in making this?

The film starts off with showing off the town and various jobs people do.  Then it shifts to a remote location where everyone gets high and becomes "possessed" with the spirits of various European conquerers (occupiers).  They cook a dog over a fire and eat it and then do other random things.  Then, their high wears off and everyone goes home to their normal day jobs.

When this film first came out, it offended near everyone.  It offended the African viewers because it portrayed them as exotic and wild, full of strange rituals Europeans can't understand what with all their technology.  It offended the European colonists because the actors were mocking them under the guise of being possessed.  It was banned in various countries across Africa.

After watching this film, I went to Jean Rouch's website to find some answers.  I still don't understand the purpose of this film.  Being a fictional documentary, I have no idea what is real and what is not.  Am I supposed to learn about the people of this country from this film or is this all fake?  I got absolutely nothing out of this film.  I will give it a 3/10.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you. The only "good" thing about this being on the list is that it was relatively short.