Paroles is a feature-length documentary film in the form of interview, composed of a series of conversations with Jean Rouch, filmed by Ricardo Costa at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, between April and May 1998.
Paroles[edit | edit source]
In Paroles, together with Rouch, are two key figures from the team of the Ethnographic Film Committee of the Musée de l'Homme, Germaine Dieterlen, a fellow of Marcel Griaule in research in the 1930s and Brice Ahounou, then “(…) a young collaborator who led for some time the "Sessions of Wednesday" at the cinema hall of the museum of Palais de Chaillot, where were screened, followed by a debate, films on the phenomena of the trance and the possession (Cit. article published at the French newspaper L'Humanité ).
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
The fox[edit | edit source]
The twin sister[edit | edit source]
Germaine Dieterlen refers to possession by the mask or the trance. The fox, master of disorder or the creative man. The Apollonian spirit and the Dionysian spirit as opposing attitudes in the culture of the West. The universality of myth.
The stranger body[edit | edit source]
Possession, ritual practice, phenomenon studied by Freud and well known by Christianity. Ecstasy and demonic possession. The trance, a body technique legated by Africa to Brazil and the Americas. The historical and social system engendered by colonialism and bypassed by Africa. Links of blood and culture: miscegenation and the spiritual legacy of blackness. Music and rhythm: the slaves of Brazil and of the United States. The blues.
TV version of Paroles (The fox and the stranger body), Mai 2006, 57 minutes.
Long version[edit | edit source]
1 – Mask and possession (Jean Rouch)
Traditional African cultures. Mythologies and their relatedness : Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The role of the mask in the theater of origins.
2 - Possession and trance (Possession et transe) (Jean Rouch avec Germaine Dieterlen)
Possession through the mask or the trance. The Dogon myth of the Pale Fox, the creative Man. Human migrations and the universality of the myth.
3 - Africa (Afrique) (Brice Ahounou without Jean Rouch)
The populations of West Africa  before the fifteenth century. Elmina and the role of the Portuguese and the colonial expansion. The Atlantic slave trade, the spread of Orisha and Voodoo cultures from Africa to the Americas. Miscegenation, cultural symbiosis, return movements.
4 - Meetings (Rencontres) (Jean Rouch, Germaine Dieterlen, Brice Ahounou)
5 - Drifts (Dérives) (Jean Rouch, Germaine Dieterlen, Brice Ahounou)
Historical and social system engendered by colonialism and bypassed by Africa. Links of blood and culture: miscegenation and spiritual legacies of negritude. Music and rhythm: El Salvador songs and New Orleans jazz.
NOTE : the long version of Paroles corresponds to the first editing of the film made in 1998.
Mythologies in Paroles[edit | edit source]
- Comparative mythology
- The Nummo, – article by Shannon Dorey (See : Shannon Dorey on Dogon Beliefs) about The Master of Speech’ : “It is by studying the symbols in comparison to other ancient religions like Greek mythology that we can uncover the truth about our past. These ancient symbols are universal and appear in every ancient religion I have studied. They form the basis of Christianity and Judaism.”
- The Master (Mistress) of Speech – article by Shannon Dorey about the nature Nommos.
- Nommo – The ancestral spirits of the waters for the Dogon people.
- The 'Cosmic egg – The creation of the world (see the second part of Luc de Heuch's film below in this article).
- The Other Face of the Mirror – article by Ricardo Costa
- La mise en scène de la parole dans le cinéma ethnographique (The staging of the word in ethnographic cinema) – article de Jean Arlaud
- Dogon Restudied: A Field Evaluation of the Work of Marcel Griaule – article at ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon
- António Santos, painter of dreams. António Santos, who takes part in Paroles, explains that the ancestral rites of initiation into adulthood, in the region where he was born, Trás-os-Montes, are very similar to those of the Dogon country. These rites take place every year at the Winter solstice, when the villagers go fox hunting. Germaine Dieterlen confirms that the myth of the fox exists everywhere in the world, including Japan.
- Amma, also called Amen, the supreme creator god in the religion of the Dogon people of West Africa – article at Britannica.
- The Dogon story of creation – film online.
- Celtic Creation in myth – film online.
Credits[edit | edit source]
- Producer and director : Ricardo Costa
- Photography : Mário Cabrita Gil 
- Caméra : Gabor Szepesi
- Sound : Guillaume Sciama, Thomas Gastinel
- Editing : Ricardo Costa assisted by João Brandão
- Format : digital vídeo 16 : 9
- Collaboration to production : Musée de l'Homme, Comité du film ethnographique
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Brice Ahounou, passeur d’images nécessaire à la mémoire des mondes (Brice Ahounou, image smuggler necessary to the memory of the worlds), article at French L'Humanité newspaper, 20 July 2017
- Sur les traces du renard pâle, en pays Dogon (On the trail of the pale fox, in Dogon country) – film in French)
- Réflexions sur le Renard Pâle et deux anthropologies : À propos du surréalisme et de l'anthropologie française (About surrealism and French anthropology) – article par Mary Douglas at French / Perseus
- The fox in Japon. In the film, Germaine Dieterlen refers to the existence of the fox myth in Japan
- "Neuroscientists Confirm That Strangers Can Become Ourselves | Psychology Today South Africa". psychologytoday.com. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
- Western Africa at United Nations
- Celtic Creation/download/CELTIC_CREATION.pdf Celtic Creation at The Big Myth
- "exhibitions - Mário Cabrita Gil". mariocabritagil.com. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
- Guillaume Sciama sur IMDb
- Thomas Gastinel at BFI
Related films[edit | edit source]
- Jean Rouch, le renard pâle – a film by Robert Nardone (in French) 
- Tracking the Pale Fox : Studies on the Dogon – film in three parts by Luc de Heusch. Watch film (English subtited)
[edit | edit source]
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- Paroles – official site
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