This film is a sequel to Jaguar and offers a comic yet moving foreshadowing of Madame L’Eau (1993). At the end of Jaguar , Damouré and Lam had founded a company known as “Petit à Petit” from the proverb: “little by little the bird makes his bonnet” – the bonnet being the turban of a chief. Petit à Petit, the company, has prospered and Damouré is sent to Paris to see how people live there on the occasion of a skyscraper being built in the Ivory Coast.
Damouré, Lam and Illo play contemporary African businessmen who want to build a tall building in their village of Ayorou Niger, and decide to go Paris to see how people live in multi-story buildings, and to investigate Parisians in general. While in France, they assemble a team of expatriate Africans and French bohemians and return to Ayorou. The group eventually disintegrates under the tension of building construction, and the three men retire to their straw hut on the river to contemplate how to create a modern Africa not inspired by Paris.
The film develops many of Rouch’s recurring preoccupations: the creation of a “reality” by starting from fiction, the confrontation between blacks and whites, although this time in Europe and not in Africa, and the development of a “shared anthropology.”

Niger/F 1969
Regie: Jean Rouch
90 min, 16mm, Farbe, OF mit engl. UT

2003, Archive, Tribute

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