Screenings: The Mad Masters, by Jean Rouch, filmmaker (France), and Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti, by Maya Deren, filmmaker (Ukraine/United States)
The Mad Masters, Jean Rouch, France, 1955, 36 min
In one of the first mockumentaries ever created, or “ethnofiction,” Rouch takes his viewers to the city of Accra (West Africa) where he follows the Hauka movement and their religious and ritual proceedings which works as an effective way to challenge and resist the British colonialism of the period. The Hauka movement consisted of mimicry and dancing to become possessed by British Colonial administrators. The participants performed the same elaborate military ceremonies of their colonial occupiers, but in more of a trance than true recreation. The film, which received the Grand Prix at the Venice Biennale, offended both colonial authorities and African students alike. It was banned in Niger and in British territories including Ghana.
Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti, Maya Deren, United States, 1985, 52 min
In 1946, trance/dance film virtuosa Maya Deren received the first Guggenheim Fellowship for her work in creative cinema, and used it to pursue her abiding interest in the myths and rituals of Haitian voodoo (she had earlier published an article entitled Religious Possession in Dancing, in 1942). Deren shot material in Haiti from 1947 to 1951, but while her travels there resulted in a highly-regarded book of anthropology, Divine Horseman – The Living Gods of Haiti, published in 1953, the planned film was never completed in her lifetime. In 1977, Deren’s widower Teiji Ito and his wife assembled and edited Deren’s footage into this film, a fascinating documentary journey into a strange and much-misunderstood world.
These Screenings are part of the public programme of Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History.
Venue: NTU CCA Singapore, The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore
When: 3 Nov 2017, 7.30pm - 9pm