Carolina Martínez López
Año de publicación
Referencia bibliográfica
L'Atalante. Revista de Estudios Cinematográficos. Núm. 22, 2016
3 de octubre 2022
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An Exploration on Maya Deren’s Haitian Footage and Jean Rouch’s Les maîtres fous

This article explores the relationship between Jean Rouch’s Les
maîtres fous (1955) and Maya Deren’s Haitian film footage (1947-
54), two almost contemporaneous projects involving the filming of
possession dances – of the African Songhay in Rouch’s case, and
of the Haitian Voudoun cult in the case of Deren. Both filmmakers
were pioneers who took an innovative approach in their filming
of these ceremonies, using lightweight technical equipment and
involving themselves directly in the ritual (each in a different
way), to produce a respectful and poetic representation that was
free of the prejudices and the colonial superiority prevalent among
Western filmmakers until that time. While Deren was unable
to give her material a final form due to a plethora of ethical and
cinematographic obstacles, Rouch would successfully bring
ethnography and cinema together in his work, thereby establishing
a new documentary sub-genre, known as ethnofiction.

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