The Mad Masters | Chicago Reader

The Mad Masters

One of the guiding spirits of the French New Wave, ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch directed this 1955 documentary on the annual ceremony of Hauku priests and initiates in colonial Gold Coast (before it became Ghana). A masterpiece that exerted a strong influence on Jean Genet's play The Blacks, the film shows the Hauku performers impersonating their colonial rulers in the midst of their trances and animal sacrifices; Rouch's handling of this ceremony in relation to the performers' everyday lives as workers in nearby Accra is both authoritative and potent.

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