extracts from Jean Rouch





For me, then, the only way to film is to walk about with the camera, taking it to wherever it is the most effective, and improvising a ballet in which the camera itself becomes just as much alive as the people it is filming. This would be the first synthesis between the theories of Vertov about the 'cine-eye' and those of Flaherty about the 'participant camera'. I often compare this dynamic improvisation with that of the bullfighter before the bull. In both cases nothing is given in advance, and the smoothness of a faena (strategy of play) in bullfighting is analogous to the harmony of a travelling shot which is in perfect balance with the movements of the subjects. 

[... quoting Vertov from 1923] 'I EDIT when I choose my subject [from among thousands of possible subjects]. I EDIT when I observe [film] my subject [to find the best choice from among a thousand possible observations...]' 

I see [with my camera] I write [record on film] I organize [edit]

[...] Music envelops one, can put one asleep, lets bad cuts pass unnoticed, or gives artificial rhythm to images which have no rhythm and will never have any. In brief, it is the opium of cinema and, unfortunately, television has exploited the mediocrity of this process. [...T]he musical sauce with which they are served. [...] On the other hand, we must value music which really supports an action, whether it be profane or ritual music, the rhythm of work or of dance.



Rouch, J 'The Camera and Man' in Hockings, P (ed.) (2003) Principles of Visual Anthropology (3rd ed.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter p.89-94