In November 1956, Jean Rouch moved to the French colony on the Ivory Coast to begin a new phase of his migration research. Over the next four years, Abidjan, the capital, would become the principal location of his filmmaking activities. This chapter focuses on two major films that Rouch made in Abidjan, which were his most significant works. Both were ethnofictions, involving a further development of the improvisational techniques that he had employed in Jaguar. The first, Moi, un Noir, was shot over the course of six months in 1957, though it was not released in its definitive form until 1960. The other, La Pyramide humaine, was shot in 1959–1960 and was not finally released until 1961. If Les Maîtres fous had confirmed Rouch's reputation as a documentarist, it would be these two films that would establish him as a major figure of French fictional cinema and one whose methods would have a major impact on the emergent New Wave.
Keywords: Jean Rouch; migration research; films; filmmaking; ethnographic filmmakers; Ivory Coast; French cinema; documentaries; New Wave; Moi un Noir
Chapter. 7480 words. Illustrated.
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