CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY KENYON
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 15, 2001
(EDITORS NOTE: Accents on French titles have been omitted to avoid problems
with electronic transmission. Proper French spellings for publication use
are available upon request.)
UI hosts conference on controversial filmmaker Jean Rouch
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The documentaries of French filmmaker Jean Rouch remain
controversial among film scholars and anthropologists. His early films documenting
rituals and ceremonies in West Africa brought him acclaim as a filmmaker,
but some ethnographers and filmmakers have deplored his techniques.
To explore the issues and controversy surrounding Rouch's work, the department
of cinema and comparative literature in the University of Iowa College of
Liberal Arts will host "Rouch Effects," a two-day conference Feb.
23-24 focused on Rouch and the techniques of autobiographical and indigenous
"This conference is not an homage in any sense of the term," said
Steven Ungar, chairman of the department and a conference organizer. "Its
goal is to assess the contemporaneity of films by and on Rouch among anthropologists,
filmmakers, and historians."
Rouch was a pioneer of the cinema verite style of filmmaking and is regularly
cited as a major influence on the French New Wave and American direct cinema
movements. His career has spanned more than 50 years and he has produced more
than 100 films.
The conference is free and open to the public and includes several screenings
of Rouch's films. All conference events will be held in Room 101 Becker Communication
Studies Building on the UI campus. The conference schedule follows:
Friday, February 23
7 p.m.: "Rouch Effects: From Ethnofiction to Reverse Anthropology,"
presented by Steven Ungar, Chair, Cinema and Comparative Literature
7:30 p.m.: screenings of two films by Jean Rouch--"Les Maitres Fous"
(1954-55; 16mm, 28 min.) and "Jaguar" (1954-67; 16mm, 93 min.)
Saturday, February 24
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: film screenings --"Chronique d'un Ete" by Jean
Rouch and Edgar Morin (1961; 16mm, 88 min.) and "Rouch in Reverse"
(1995; VHS, 52 min.) by Manthia Diawara
1:30-4:30 p.m. " 'Les Maitres fous' and the Limits of Psychoanalytic
Approaches," presented by Sasha Waters, assistant professor of cinema
and comparative literature (Production)
"Locating Voice in 'Shared Anthropology,' " presented by Cheryl
Cambras, graduate student, film studies
"Chronique d'un ete: In the Thick of Things," presented by Steven
"Rouch Traces: The Ethnographic Camera and Feminist Cinema," presented
by Jennifer Wild, graduate student, film studies
"Writing and Film in Ethnography," presented by Louis Schwartz,
assistant professor of cinema and comparative literature (Film Studies)
Reception to follow
"Rouch Effects" is sponsored by the UI department of cinema and
comparative literature, with support from the African Studies Program, the
Project for the Advanced Study of Art and Life in Africa, the Institute for
Cinema and Culture, and International Programs. Individuals with disabilities
are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with
a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this
program, please contact the CCL office at (319) 335-0330.