Film

NYC: Jean Rouch - Early Films from West Africa, 1946–1951 at MOMA

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A selection of Jean Rouch's rare ethnographic films will be screening at MOMA in NYC Wednesday Oct. 26 at 4pm. Rouch is one of the pioneers of documentary filmmaking, and his lens on native peoples continues to shape the dialogue of ethical do's and don'ts in anthropological studies. See a small sampling of his work from 1958 above (via Shadow and Act). Be sure to catch this screening of films he recorded in the West African countries of Mali and Niger between 1946-1951:

In the Land of the Black Magi: 1946–47. France. Directed by Jean Rouch. Rouch’s earliest surviving film, which depicts the Sorko of Niger on a hippopotamus hunt. 12 min.

Initiation into Possession Dance: 1948. France. Directed by Jean Rouch. Ritual possession dances among the Songhay of Firgoun, Niger. 22 min.

The Magicians of Wanzerbé: 1948. France. Directed by Jean Rouch. “Screened at the first ethnographic film conference of the Musée de l’Homme, [this film] depicts rituals of Songhay magicians who are descendants of Emperor Sonny Ali from the village of Wanzerbé, Niger, [including scenes of] the Wanzerbé market, children’s games, Mossi the magician, dance of the magicians, and sacrifice made to the village mountain spirit” (Rouch). 29 min.

Cemetary in the Cliff: 1950. France. Directed by Jean Rouch. Rouch records funeral rituals among the Dogon on the cliffs of Bandiagara, Mali, centering on a sacrifice to the spirit of the water, the return of the cadaver, and the interment of the body in the cemetery. 18 min.

The Men Who Make it Rain: 1951. France. Directed by Jean Rouch. "Rain rituals with possession dances among the Songhay and Zarma of Simiri, Zermaganda, Niger" (Rouch). The spirits speak through the voices of the dancers they have chosen, including the spirit of the wind, goddess of the cemeteries, the rainbow, master of the lightning, master of the thunderbolt, and master of the thunder and the rain. 28 min.

For more information on the screenings, click here.

News Brief
Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images

Sudan Declares State of Emergency, As Military Dissolves Transitional Government

As the North African country edged closer to democracy, Sudan's military has seized power.

Sudan's military has seized power over the North African country, arresting multiple civilian leaders, including the current Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The power-sharing, unstable coalition, called the Sovereign Council, was created as a transitional government after the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, in an attempt to move towards a democratic Sudan.

The Sudanese public has been split in recent weeks as groups protested for a military-run state, while others pushed for a civilian lead, democratic nation. Last week, the Prime Minister vocalized his plans towards a full transition to civilian rule, and his plans to have that body in place by November 17, echoing the voices of thousands of Sudanese demonstrators who showed up in hoards to demand that the promise of Sudan's pro-democracy movement be honored. But on Monday the PM and multiple government ministers and officials were placed under arrest, resulting in Sudan's top general's declaring State of Emergency.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in a televised statement, "To rectify the revolution's course, we have decided to declare a state of emergency nationwide… dissolve the transitional sovereign council, and dissolve the cabinet." His statement came as soldiers fired live rounds at anti-military protestors, outside of the army headquarters in the capital.

Internet services were cut across the country around dawn and the main roads and bridges into Khartoum shut, before soldiers stormed the headquarters of Sudan's state broadcaster in the capital's twin city of Omdurman, the ministry said. After months of rising tensions in the country, army and paramilitary troops have been deployed across the capital city, Khartoum, with the airports and internet access being shut down. As a result of the coup, hundreds of protestors have taken to the streets, demanding the return of a civilian ruled and the transitional government, the BBC reports.

Demonstrators have spread to a number of Sudanese cities including Atbara, Wad Madani, and Port Sudan, and more are expected to attend the call for action. "We will not leave the streets until the civilian government is back and the transition is back," protest attendee Sawsan Bashir told AFP. While demonstrator Haitham Mohamed says, "We are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan."


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