Rouch's reflexive turn : indigenous film as the outcome of reflexivity in ethnographic filmRouch's reflexive turn : indigenous film as the outcome of reflexivity in ethnographic film
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Visual and Digital Cultures Research Center (ViDi)
Visual anthropology. - London
26(2013):2, p. 109-131
University of Antwerp
One of the most important driving forces in the development of ethnographic film and its theory has been reflexivity. As a cinematographic and theoretical device, reflexivity is put forward by epistemological and ethical concerns in ethnographic filmmaking, and has shaped the genre of ethnographic film. Reflexivity, and particularly its limits, constitutes a very particular pivotal point of the shift from Western ethnographic film to indigenous film, a shift characterized both as disruption and as continuity. We will briefly recapitulate how the corpus of ethnographic film has dealt with its own problems and how it ultimately recycles indigenous film in its own paradigm. The best example to illustrate ethnographic cinema's reflexive turn as well as its problems can be found in the work of the ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch (19172004) and his relation to African cinema; and in the reaction of African filmmakers to Rouch's work. How does this indigenous cinema offer productive challenges to the assumptions of the genre of ethnographic film?