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“Bataille sur le Grand Fleuve” (1951)



Filmmaker and ethnographer Jean Rouch (1917-2004) was honoured at the first Curtas Vila do Conde. Inspired by directors such as Robert Flaherty and Dziga Vertov, Rouch is considered one of the most innovative French directors of the post World War II era, with an extensive oeuvre in the contiguous territories of ethnographic and sociologic documentary and fiction. In 1960, Rouch described his style of filming as “Cinéma Vérité” or “direct cinema”. Curtas presented three documentaries: “Bataille sur le Grand Fleuve” (1951), “Yeneudi” (1951) and “Sigui 1969: La Caverne de Bongo”.


In his films, which were strongly influenced by his scientific studies, Rouch goes beyond the boundaries imposed by documentary mixing techniques and influences from fiction, something that was particularly apparent after his first feature film, “Moi, Un Noir”, made in 1958, even though thematically, he focused almost exclusively in the culture of certain African communities. In 1997, Rouch, who did the camera work in all his films, filmed with Manoel de Oliveira “En une poignée de mains amies”, a film based on a poem by Oliveira himself and produced by Instituto Francês do Porto and the Oporto City Council to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Portuguese cinema.


Jean Rouch was president of the Cinémathèque Française between 1986 and 1991.