The Lion Hunters

    La chasse au lion à l'arc

    • Jean Rouch
    • France
    • 1965
    • 77 min
    • Top 10
    A “superpower” is stalking the wilderness between Mali and Niger. The African hunters have a nickname for the enormous lion dominating the vast bush: “The American.” Director Jean Rouch introduces us to five lion hunters as they undertake ritual preparations for the hunt. Bows and arrows are crafted in the traditional way – to collect the poison for their arrowheads, once every four years they make a 500-kilometer (310-mile) journey on foot – and traps are expertly set in The American’s territory. After quite a few disappointing false alarms including a jackal, a hyena and a viverra, the day finally arrives when The American’s cub falls into one of the traps. The animal’s father isn’t amused and declares war on the hunters. Who will win? Frenchman Jean Rouch first set foot in Africa in 1941 as a colonial hydraulic engineer. He became fascinated by the continent and after World War II made countless anthropological films, devoting great attention to the population and its rituals. His reportage approach to filmmaking made Rouch one of the major founders of cinema verité. You would be hard-pressed to find much colonial frame of reference at all in The Lion Hunters. Instead, the film bursts with journalistic curiosity and a deep affection for Africa. This is most movingly felt when Rouch joins in on the rhythmic hunting song "Gawey-Gawey" in voice-over.

    Credits

    • 77 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: French
    Director
    Jean Rouch
    Production
    Pierre Braunberger for Les Films de la Pleiade
    Cinematography
    Jean Rouch
    Editing
    Dov Hoenig, José Matarasso
    Screening copy
    Les Films du Jeudi

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