Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

Film: "Moi, Un Noir," introduced by Nancy Schiesari (Faces of Migration: Classic and Contemporary Feature Film Series)

Tue, February 20, 2018 | CLA 1.302B

7:00 PM

Moi, Un Noir
(1958, France, dir: Jean Rouch)
Courtesy Icarus Films.

Winner of the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc in 1958, MOI, UN NOIR marked Jean Rouch's break with traditional ethnography, and his embrace of the collaborative and improvisatory strategies he called "shared ethnography" and "ethnofiction."

MOI, UN NOIR depicts an ordinary week in the lives of men and women from Niger who have migrated to Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire for work. After a short introduction by Rouch, "Edward G. Robinson"-Omarou Ganda, who like the film's other subject-collaborators plays himself under the name of a Western movie star-takes over the film's narration, recreating dialogue and providing freewheeling commentary on his experiences. Robinson describes the bitter reality of life in Treichville, a poor inner suburb populated largely by migrants, and his work as a day laborer (bozori) in the ports. When the weekend arrives, he and his friends go to the beach and the bars, but even during this brief respite from their drudgery, they remain second-class citizens. MOI, UN NOIR also brings inside Robinson's richly detailed inner life, as he describes his fantasy of becoming a championship boxer, his dream of marrying "Dorothy Lamour" (Gambi, another Nigerien migrant), and his childhood memories of Niger. MOI, UN NOIR captures both the sorrows and the occasional joys of these migrants' experience in all their psychological complexity. A landmark of documentary cinema, Rouch's stylistic innovations here exerted a profound influence on the French New Wave, and his collaborative process helped bolster the national cinemas of West Africa.

Introduced by Nancy Schiesari, Producer/Director/Cinematographer, and Professor, Department of Radio Television Film, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin, with a discussion afterward. Watch the trailer.

See also: 
"Jean Rouch’s Inspiring Metafictions: Two of the most influential and original films in the history of the cinema are finally getting a U.S. DVD release," in The New Yorker (Nov. 20, 2017).

Migration is a deeply human experience across all parts of the world, even as specific conditions of need, gender, geography, culture, and coercion frame particular journeys. The feature films in this series capture the emotions and stories of migrants in a multitude of settings. Each film will be introduced by a faculty member and followed by discussion of the film and the questions it raises about migration as a common experience that can both divide and unite us.

Films will be screened alternate Tuesdays in CLA, Glickman Conference Center. 7 pm. Parking: Brazos Garage, 210 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.. Open to the UT Austin community and the public.

Presented by Not Even PastThe Department of History, and Institute of Historical Studies, with generous co-sponsorship of Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American StudiesCenter for Mexican American StudiesCenter for European StudiesCenter for East Asian StudiesCenter for Asian American StudiesDepartment of American StudiesDepartment of Radio-Television-Film, and Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

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