The world according to Rouch

Authored by: Paul Stoller

The Routledge International Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367185824
eBook ISBN: 9780429196997
Adobe ISBN:


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It is 8:30 am and I am sitting in the Bal Bullier, a historic café on the Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris’s fourteenth arrondissement. I’ve made an appointment with Jean Rouch to interview him about his early research and filmmaking in the Republic of Niger. When I arrive, Rouch, of course, is not there. He’s always late. He likes to say to people “je suis ponctuellement en retard,” which translates roughly to: “I am punctually late,” a curious and ironic statement. Knowing that Rouch is “punctually late,” I’ve brought reading material, an ethnography, and a mystery novel, to pass the time until his arrival. To my great surprise, Jean Rouch shows up at 8:45.

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