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Little By Little: Petit petit
A film by Jean Rouch
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By 1969, Jean Rouch had spent more than two decades documenting West Africa as an ethnographer, and in 1961 had co-directed CHRONICLE OF A SUMMER, an anthropological investigation of Parisian life. In LITTLE BY LITTLE, Rouch's Nigerien collaborators Damouré Zika and Lam Ibrahim travel to Paris and end up performing a reverse ethnography of French culture.

When we re-join Zika and Ibrahim in Ayorou, Niger, the Little By Little company they had formed at the conclusion of JAGUAR has become a large import-export company. Hearing that a competitor is building a multistory building in Niamey, the directors of the company decide they must construct their own in Ayorou.

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Zika flies to Paris to study the city's skyscrapers and meet with architects for advice. His mission quickly broadens into a full-fledged investigation of French life, the methods of which begin to suspiciously resemble those of imperialist European anthropology, and give a darkly comic charge to the proceedings.

Ibrahim eventually joins Zika in France, and the pair fall into their own version of contemporary European life, along the way picking up Senegalese clothing designer, a white French typist, and a hobo, all of whom return with them to Niger to work for Little By Little.

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The most cutting of Rouch's collaborative ethno-fictions, LITTLE BY LITTLE playfully satirizes the history of European-African relations.

""A truly mesmerizing, frequently hilarious, and provocative masterpiece." —Eric Kohn, Cineaste

"A film of tremendous insight into the nature of identity and selfhood in the colonial and postcolonial context." —Michael Laramee, Three Documentary Filmmakers: Errol Morris, Ross McElwee, Jean Rouch

"Wonderfully humorous" —Paul Stoller

Mention, 31st Venice Biennale
  

92 minutes / color
Release: 2012
Copyright: 1969
Sale: $398

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Anthropology, Architecture, Cultural Anthropology, France, French Culture, Globalization, Niger, Race and Racism, Racism, Western Europe

Related Links:
The Films of Jean Rouch
Jean Rouch: Six Films

Related Titles:
Jaguar: In Jean Rouch's collaborative ethnofiction, three Nigerien men journey to Accra for work.

Moi, Un Noir: In this landmark documentary, Jean Rouch collaborates with his subjects to produce a complex portrait of Nigerien migrants in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire.

The Mad Masters: Jean Rouch's essential and controversial work is a classic of ethnographic cinema.

School of Babel: Welcome to a unique Parisian program for immigrant children from all over the world.

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