Selasa, 31 Mei 2011

Jean Rouch - Un lion nommé l'américain aka A Lion Named The American (1968)


...:I regretted having to reedit the footage in The Lion Hunters so much that I made the second film about hunting The American [called in Songhay simply The Whiteman, ed. note] entitled Un Lion Nommé l'Américain (1968) just to use the long sequence about the death of the lion and to show exactly what happened during the whole time in syncsound. In it you see us going out in the Land Rover, and Damouré asks the hunters to tell us when they are on the track, and Isiyaka says "You see, that's the track of The American, because when we were with Rouch he had a leg caught in the trap, and you can see where he was hurt. That's The American." It's all very clear and at the end of the film Damouré interviews Isiyaka and there is the lioness, dead, and he says to Isiyaka, "Well, it's not The American." And Isiyaka says, "No, The American went into another bush. But maybe next year we will kill The American." And it was the beginning of the myth of The American. But I think all that's very difficult to put in a film. It was the last attempt to kill "The American." We killed another lion, yes, but The American was killed by a Mali hunter, using a gun, one year later.

It's very strange because Tallou was working with me when I made Un Lion Nommé l'Américain. (You remember he became possessed by the Hauka.) And when we were right in front of the lion ready for action (he was carrying the Nagra) he became possessed again and his new god was called The Americain! And Tallou started to roar like a lion: "The Americain" And the lion was very astonished. Tallou was possessed because he was afraid, you see that assimilation. He was mimicking The American. Now The American is a kind of myth: every big lion is The American and the spirit of The American is, I don't know, perhaps a Hauka.

There's nothing profound about the second film. Wangari and Tahirou sing for the lion and for the hunters and so on. It is based essentially on a very long five minute shot of the death of the lion. But the film is not dramatic, and that's the trouble- truth is less dramatic than editing. I know that. But I go for the truth and then try to find drama inside the truth. It will happen, but it's unpredictable. For instance, I made a small film, only ten minutes long, of a possession dance in one shot (Tourou et Bitti, 1967). I started to shoot just five minutes before the trance began. It's dramatic because something happened in the middle of the shooting. That's the way to make films: you have to start just before the event and the fact that you are shooting evokes the event. But when you shoot like that, very often it's a mess. One time I started and just when there was no more film in the camera, the trance happened. But anyway, I think that's the way you can film the drama.

As I said, the correct way to hunt a lion is one-on-one, one hunter, one lion. Well, you can do it if you have the courage. I didn't know the way to do it, not really, and there was the question of sound equipment. If you could use a Nagra in your pocket and could be alone with a hunter like that you might be able to film it, but I cannot say that I would stay in front of a lion who is charging. When I was shooting the lioness hunt I was using the Beaulieu and a Nagra but it was not syncsound. It was too difficult at that time. But if I could use a crystal system, with an Eclair and a Nagra, and could be absolutely independent, certainly, I would try to shoot the whole film, everything, even if I was frightened. Even if I was running, I would continue my shooting. Maybe it would be a very strange film but the drama would be inside!

When I was shooting the Fitili lioness I really was frightened. She was jumping around like a grasshopper. Even a small lion is dangerous, and if you are hurt, it's very infectious. When she started to jump, I stopped the camera, but the sound man didn't stop, so there was something in the action that I missed. Of course I hoped audiences would believe me, but many people don't believe that it actually happened that way. Well, I think there's less than one minute lost between the moment I stopped and the death of the animal. Isiyaka got his arrow in very quickly, but at the time I didn't know exactly what to do. I was a student in lion hunting, tool I didn't know the way.

They say that if you stand absolutely still, you're all right. If you are afraid you can take a small tree, or just a branch, and hold it in front of you, and the lion will just roar, and die there like a dog. In the bullfight there are clowns who stand quietly in the middle of the arena and if the bull is just standing around they have only not to move, and they're safe. I think it's the same thing, but well, if you are making a film... I even thought of using a helicopter, but what would that mean? A helicopter would make it all very stupid. Besides, I'm very happy to know that there is something like that which nobody can film. I've never seen a kill one-on-one, but they tell the story all the time. Tahirou killed one hundred lions that way, he killed ten lions a year, alone, and came back alone...."é-Conte - 1972 - Un lion nommé lAméricain (Jean Rouch).AVI


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