The Info List - Ethnofiction

--- Advertisement ---

ETHNOFICTION is a neologism which refers to an ethnographic docufiction , a blend of documentary and fictional film in the area of visual anthropology . It is a film type in which, by means of fictional narrative or creative imagination , often improvising, the portrayed characters (natives ) play their own roles as members of an ethnic or social group.

Jean Rouch is considered to be the father of ethnofiction. An ethnologist , he discovered that a filmmaker interferes with the event he registers. His camera is never a candid camera. The behavior of the portrayed individuals, the natives, will be affected by its presence. Contrary to the principles of Marcel Griaule
Marcel Griaule
, his mentor, for Rouch a non-participating camera registering “pure” events in ethnographic research (like filming a ritual without interfering with it) is a pre-concept denied by practice.

An ethnographer cameraman will be accepted as a natural partner by the actors who play their roles. The cameraman will be one of them. He may even be possessed by the rhythm of dancers during a ritual celebration and induced in a state of cine-trance . Going further than his predecessors, Jean Rouch introduces the actor as a tool in research.

A new genre was born. Robert Flaherty, a main reference for Rouch, may be seen as the grandfather of this genre , although he was a pure documentary maker and not an ethnographer.

Being mainly used to refer to ethnographic films as an object of visual anthropology, the term ethnofiction is as well adequate to refer to experimental documentaries preceding and following Rouch’s oeuvre and to any fictional creation in human communication, arts or literature, having an ethnographical or social background.


* 1 History

* 2 Chronology

* 2.1 1920s * 2.2 1930s * 2.3 1940s * 2.4 1950s * 2.5 1960s * 2.6 1970s * 2.7 1980s * 2.8 Recent

* 3 Footnotes * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links


Parallel to those of Flaherty or Rouch, ethnic portraits of hard local realities are often drawn in Portuguese films since the thirties, with particular incidence from the sixties to the eighties, and again in the early 21st century. The remote Trás-os-Montes region (see: Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro Province in Portugal
), Guinée Bissau or the Cape Vert
Cape Vert
islands (ancient Portuguese colonies), which step in the limelights from the eighties on thanks to the work of certain directors ( Flora Gomes , Pedro Costa , or Daniel E. Thorbecke , the unknown author of Terra Longe ) are themes for pioneering films of this genre, important landmarks in film history. Arousing fiction in the heart of ethnicity is something current in the Portuguese popular narrative (oral literature ): in other words, the traditional attraction for legend and surrealistic imagery in popular arts inspires certain Portuguese films to strip off realistic predicates and become poetical fiction. This practice is common to many fictional films by Manoel de Oliveira
Manoel de Oliveira
and João César Monteiro and to several docufiction hybrids by António Campos , António Reis and Ricardo Costa . Since the 1960s, ethnofiction (local real life and fantasy in one) is a distinctive mark of Portuguese cinema.



* 1926 – Moana by Robert Flaherty
Robert Flaherty


* 1930 – Maria do Mar by José Leitão de Barros , Portugal
* 1931 – Tabu written by Robert Flaherty
Robert Flaherty
and directed by F. W. Murnau , USA * 1932 – L'or des mers by Jean Epstein , France
* 1933 – Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan by Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel
, Spain
* 1934 – Man of Aran by Robert Flaherty
Robert Flaherty
, UK


* 1942 – Ala-Arriba! by José Leitão de Barros . Portugal
* 1948 – Louisiana Story
Louisiana Story
by Robert Flaherty
Robert Flaherty


* 1955 - Les maîtres fous (The Mad Masters) by Jean Rouch . France
* 1958 – Moi, un noir (Me a Black) by Jean Rouch. France


* 1961 – La pyramide humaine by Jean Rouch , France
* 1962 – Acto da Primavera (Act of Spring) by Manoel de Oliveira
Manoel de Oliveira
. Portugal
* 1963 – Pour la suite du monde (Of Whales, the Moon and Men) by Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault , Canada
* 1967 - Jaguar, by Jean Rouch , France


* 1976 – People from Praia da Vieira (Gente da Praia da Vieira) by António Campos , Portugal
* 1976 – Changing Tides (Mau Tempo, Marés e Mudança) by Ricardo Costa , Portugal
* 1976 – Trás-os-Montes by António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro , Portugal
* 1979 – Bread and Wine (O Pão e o Vinho) by Ricardo Costa , Portugal


* 1988 – Mortu Nega (Death Denied) by Flora Gomes , Guiné-Bissau


* 2000 – No Quarto da Vanda (In Vanda’s Room) by Pedro Costa * 2003 – Terra Longe (Remote Land) by Daniel E. Thorbecke * 2006 – Colossal Youth by Pedro Costa * 2007 – Transfiction by Johannes Sjöberg * 2011 - Toomelah by Ivan Sen


* ^ Glossary at MAITRES_FOUS.NET * ^ Types of Cameras – definition at UCLA * ^ Marcel Griaule
Marcel Griaule
(1898 – 1956) – Article by Sybil Amber * ^ From Pictorializing to Visual Anthropology1 – Chapter from “Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology” * ^ From Representation to Evocation: Tracing a Progression in Jean Rouch\'s ‘’Les magiciens de Wanzerbé’’, ‘’Les maîtres fous’’, and ‘’Jaguar’’ – Article by Ted Nannicelli at Taylor & Francis Group * ^ L\'ETHNOFICTION A L\'ŒUVRE Prisme et images de l\'entité dogon – Article (French) by Gaetano Ciarcia at Université Montpellier III * ^ Father of \'cinema verite\' dies – BBC news * ^ BIOGRAPHIES: Jean Rouch – Article by Ben Michaels at Indiana University * ^ A Tribute to Jean Rouch by Paul Stoller at Rouge * ^ Ethnographic
Film (origines) * ^ Knowing Images: Jean Rouch’s Ethnography

Links: ------ /wiki/Neologism /wiki/Ethnographic /wiki/Docufiction /wiki/Documentary /wiki/Fictional_film