Speakers: Marc Augé (anthropologist and author of A Sense for the Other: The Timeliness & Relevance of Anthropology and other books), Thomas Michelon (guest curator for TRACER / Cultural Attaché of the French Embassy) and Dirk Snauwaert (artistic director of Wiels, contemporary art center in Brussels).

Screening 1: Al Clah, Ombres Intrépides, 1966-68

18 min. English subtitled

In 1966, the ethnologists Sol Worth and John Adair handed over their 16 mm camera to Al Clah, member of an Indian community in Navajos, Arizona, with the request that he point it at and capture image of his own culture. It proves to be a first confrontation with Western image production. Self-representation and cultural identity are recurring themes in this film. In the words of the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead, Al Clah’s Ombres Intrépides is one of the most beautiful examples of documentary cinema.

Screening 2: Jean Rouch, Les maîtres fous, 1955

18 min. English subtitled

Les Maitres Fous is a film about the ceremony performed by a religious sect, the Hauka, which was widespread in West Africa from the 1920s to the 1950s. Hauka participants were usually rural migrants from Niger who came to cities such as Accra in Ghana (then the Gold Coast), where they found work as labourers in the city’s lumber yards, as stevedores at the docks, or in the mines. In 1954, when a small group asked Jean Rouch to film their annual ceremony, there were at least 30,000 practising Hauka in Accra. During this ritual, which took place on a farm a few hours from the city, the Hauka entered into a trance and were possessed by various spirits associated with the Western colonial powers: the governor general, the engineer, the doctor’s wife, the wicked major and the corporal of the guard.