JEAN ROUCH: The First Hong Kong Retrospective
“Modern Cinema starts when Jean Rouch’s tripod fell into the Niger river”
Jean-Luc Godard
For the first time ever in Hong Kong, THY LAB, in partnership with the
Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, with the support of
Institutis Français – Cinémathèque Afrique, is proud to present a
Retrospective on the movies of renowned French filmmaker Jean Rouch,
considered unanimously as the father of the French New Wave as well as of
“Cinéma Vérité”.
Seven of Jean Rouch’s films will be shown, from 21 April to 6 May 2018 to
celebrate the centennial of the filmmaker’s birth. After the screenings,
THYLAB will invite special guests including Jean Rouch’s wife, Jacelyne
Rouch, and the head of International Organisation of Migration sub-office
in Hong Kong, Nurul Qoiriah, who will share few words regarding Rouch’s
contributions to the world of ethnographic cinema.
With a repertoire of over a hundred films, Jean Rouch is considered as the
main pioneer of visual anthropology and the father of ethnofiction,
combining the art of filmmaking with the science of anthropology. Rouch’s
unique method documents people’s life and brings their narratives to an
otherwise unreachable audience. Leaving behind his career as an engineer,
Rouch began to make films to record the lives and culture of the people of
Niger River valley in the late 1940s and 1950s. He made waves in the fields
of cinema and social anthropology by allowing his subjects to take part in
the writing and production of his films, offering them a platform to voice
their own stories in their own way. Rather than seeing natives through the
eyes of the West, his films gave peoples a way to represent themselves in
the era of colonialism.
In collaboration with IOM, THY LAB is working on its own ethnographic film
on the lives and struggles of Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong.
Inspired by Rouch’s methodology, the project aims to empower domestic
workers by working with them to write and present their stories. With over
350 000 domestic workers in the city, they account for up to 60% of Hong
Kong’s non-Chinese population. However, they lack representation in local
mainstream media. Through this project, THY LAB hopes to give them a
platform to share their experiences and pains of working in a foreign city,
and thus show the people of Hong Kong the invisible side of their lives.
The screenings include the most famous works from the filmmaker, and the
most characteristic of ethnographic cinema.
More about the films and screenings:
MOI, UN NOIR (1959)
Set in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the film follows the lives of immigrants over
the course of one week as they search for jobs and fantasise about better
A new student arrives in school and exposes the difficulties of interracial
Real life individuals discuss topics on the themes of society and happiness
in the French working class.
JAGUAR (1967)
Three young men from Niger look for work and experience in Ghana’s cities.
Wishing to build a grand building in his little village, a young man from
Niger visits Paris to see how it is done and gets a taste of the Parisian
Three poultry sellers take a trip across the bush and encounter an array of
Three filmmakers sail aboard a Swedish icebreaker and express their unique
perspectives of life on board.
Organised by THY LAB I n partnership with: Fondation Jean Rouch; the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau; Institut Français – Cinémathèque
Afrique; the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Department of Anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong

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