Films About Rouch

Friends, Fools, Family: Rouch's Collaborators in Niger

By Berit Madsen and Anne Mette Jørgensen
Color, 59 minutes + bonus material

In 2003, two Danish anthropologists and filmmakers went to Niger to make a film with Rouch's friends. Their film was going to be an exploration of the methods of the group. It became a story about how this unique collaboration came to change the lives of both the filmmaker and his friends.

This DVD also contains a 15 minute clip of Rouch's friend and collaborator Damouré talking about the film Jaguar.

Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; Tel: 617.926.0491 Fax: 617-926-9519; Email:

Rouch's Gang

By Steef Meyknecht, Dirk Nijland and Joost Verhey
Color, 70 minutes, 1998

In 1991, Jean Rouch started work on his new feature film Madame l'Eau, much of which was shot in Holland. Rouch's Gang follows the film crew and provides a glimpse behind the scenes as Rouch and his four friends from Niger —Damouré Zika, Lam Ibrahim Dia, Tallou Mouzourane and Moussa Hamidou-- make their film. By providing an outsider's view of Madame l'Eau, the documentary provides insight into how Rouch approaches his films. Most of his fiction films were shot with these four African friends, over a period of more than forty years. The bond between them is the theme of the documentary Rouch's Gang, a bond of friendship which has become increasingly complex and can no longer be described in a simple way.

Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; Tel: 617.926.0491 Fax: 617-926-9519; Email:

Jean Rouch and His Camera in the Heart of Africa

By Philo Bregstein
In cooperation with Dutch Television
Color, 74 minutes

Jean Rouch and His Camera in the Heart of Africa provides an in-depth look at the film work of Jean Rouch and his friends and collaborators from Niger, Damouré Zika and Lam Abrahima Dia. Most of the camera and technical work was accomplished by Niger filmmakers. Bregstein, Rouch, Damouré, Lam, their friend Tallou and others converse about filmmaking and filmmakers who have had historical influence in the field, while segments from several of Rouch's earlier film works are interspersed with the filming in Niger. Some of the films shown and discussed are Chronicle of a Summer, Moi, un Noir, Tourou et Bitti, Battle on the Great River, Jaguar, Les Maîtres Fous, The Lion Hunters, and Petit à Petit.

Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; Tel: 617.926.0491 Fax: 617-926-9519; Email:

Conversations With Jean Rouch

By Ann McIntosh
Produced in collaboration with Documentary Educational Resources
Color, Super 8 & analog video, 36 minutes, 2004

This intimate, revealing video of conversations between Jean Rouch and a number of filmmakers and friends, including John Marshall and Colin Young, was shot between 1978 and 1980 by Ann McIntosh, who taught video under Ricky Leacock at MIT. McIntosh gained Rouch's trust while shooting informal cinéma vérité scenes of him at various locations: film seminars in New England (USA), Chateau Thierry in France (the WWII period for Jean), Monaco (where his father worked and died), Marcilly (the family homestead), Italy (at his vacation house with his first wife Jane), as well as to graduate seminars at the Sorbonne and the Cinématheque Francaise. This video provides fascinating insights about Rouch as he discusses his methodology with students and colleagues, revealing the man at his most tender and most serious. Jean's extraordinary wisdom and sense of humor permeates McIntosh's work.

Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; Tel: 617.926.0491 Fax: 617-926-9519; Email:

The Screening Room: Jean Rouch

Produced by Studio 7 ArtsColor, analog video (orig.), 64 minutes

Screening Room was a 1970's Boston television series that offered independent filmmakers a chance to show and discuss their work on a commercial (ABC-TV) affiliate station. The series was developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner (Dead Birds, Forest of Bliss), who was Chairman of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and Director of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard for many years. In this edition of the program, Gardner's lively and engaging conversation with Jean Rouch is interspersed with screenings of Rouch's films, including Les Maîtres Fous, Death of a Priest, Rhythme de travail /Work Rhythms, and others.

Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; Tel: 617.926.0491 Fax: 617-926-9519; Email:

Mosso Mosso : Jean Rouch comme si /Jean Rouch as if...

Director Jean-André Fieschi
Beta SP, 73 minutes, color, French w/ English subtitles, 1998

Jean Rouch confided one day to Jean-André Fieschi, "From the Dogon, I learned an extraordinary rule in life, which has finally become my own: Act as if what you're told was true. And in acting "as if," one is, I believe, much closer to reality." It took no more than that to get Fieschi to follow, camera in hand, his "Maître fou" on a strange adventure: "Nine months later, by the river Niger, in the country where he began his work as a film ethnologist, Jean Rouch was to act as if he was filming, in my presence, the twelve first shots of La vache merveilleuse, with his longtime friends Damouré Zika and Tallou Mouzourane, and the ghost of Lam Ibrahim Dia, who had died some months previously, and was responsible for the original story" Mosso Mosso: Jean Rouch comme si  is thus the log-book of this imaginary shooting of a film never made, the umpteenth fantasy of the ever-inventive Jean Rouch. The film ostensibly deals with India's holy cows, the water genie, President Clinton, and, above all the underlying connections between dream and reality.”

DOC&Co, 13, rue Portefoin, 75003 Paris; Tel.: +33-1-42775687; Fax: +33-1-42726482
AMIP (Audiovisuel Multimedia International Productions), Email: Tel:+33 1 48 87 45 13).

Rouch in Reverse

by Manthia Diawara
VHS, 52 minutes, 1995

Malian filmmaker and New York University professor Manthia Diawara's provocative film critiques visual anthropology through the work of Jean Rouch, perhaps the most distinguished ethnographic filmmaker of his time... In this film, Diawara pioneers what he calls "reverse anthropology" — where the subjects of investigation study their former investigators.

California Newsreel, Order Department, P.O. Box 2284, South Burlington, VT 05407; Tel.: 877-811-7495; Fax: 802-846-1850; Email:

L'inventaire de Jean Rouch

Directed by Julien Donada and Guillaume Casset
Color, 32 minutes, 1993

Jean Rouch is confronted by a succession of objects which he comments on. A flag of Niger, a can of Banania, a Nagra, a pair of pants, shooting photos... these give him the occasion to talk about Africa, about Hergé, New Wave, Henri Langlois, Jean Genet, and other inhabitants of his imaginary museum.  An unusual inventory that creates a portrait in the form of a jigsaw of Jean Rouch, cinéaste and ethnologue.

Forum des images, Porte Saint-Eustache, Forum des Halles, 75001 Paris; Tel.: 01 44 76 62 00; Fax.: 01 40 26 40 96; Email:

Jean Rouch — Premier film 1947-1991

Directed by Dominique Dubosc, based on an idea by Jean Rouch
U-matic, 27 min, 1991
A Kinofilm production

Comparing two versions of Au pays des mages noirs (1946-47), Jean Rouch improvises a new commentary. In this documentary by Dominique Dubosc, Jean Rouch critiques his own work and puts it in perspective in the context of the time." This is not only an evocation of the beginnings of Jean Rouch, ethnologue and film director — it is his first film. One sees him improvising a new commentary to In the Land of the Black Magi, just as he improvised the voiceovers of most of his other films." — Dominique Dubosc

Kinofilm, 83, rue Notre-Dame des Champs, 75006 Paris; Tel. 01 43 29 75 99

Jean Rouch (TV-Series)

Directed by Jean Brismée and André Delvaux
B&W, 50 min (5 episodes), French,1962

A documentary about the life and works of the French director Jean Rouch.

Radio Télévision Belge Francofone (RTBF)

Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment

Directed by Peter Wintonick. 1999
The National Film Board of Canada

" A feature documentary about documentary, Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment is a major retrospective of some of the century's finest non-fiction films, and a celebration of the contemporary legacy of the cinéma vérité revolution of the late '50s and '60s... The world of cinéma vérité filmmaking was created by a group of driven, dedicated rebels. All the key players, including Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, Al Maysles, Donn Pennebaker, Hope Ryden, Wolf Koenig, Jean Rouch and Michel Brault, are featured in Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment."

NFB Ordering information:
Tel.: In Canada (800) 267-7710; In the US (800) 542-2164

The New Wave By Itself

Directed by Robert Valey & André S. Labarthe.
Color, 57 minutes, 1995

"Shot in 1964, this film is a beautiful time capsule of the French New Wave in action... Henri Langlois (co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française) provides a charming introduction, and all of the most important directors are here, including Claude Chabrol, Jacques Démy, Georges Franju, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Jean Rouch, François Truffaut, and Agnès Varda."

First Run Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Flr, Brooklyn, NY 11201; Tel.: (718) 488-8900; Email:

Civilisation: L'homme et les images (TV)

B&W, 34 min, French, 1967