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The Goumbé of the Young Revelers
Directed by Jean Rouch
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Included on 2-disc box set Early Short Films of the French New Wave.

As West African cities faced explosive growth in the 1960s, young people found themselves displaced, living in urban centers far from their families and home regions.

Enter the goumbés—youth associations combining networking, mutual aid, and a healthy dose of fun.

In this short film by Jean Rouch, we meet the Goumbé of Young Revelers, an Ivory Coast group whose bylaws include requirements for monthly parades, writing songs and coming up with new dance moves. The film deftly moves between club meetings and the daily lives of goumbé members—a longshoreman, a tailor, a clerk—providing a snapshot of life in Abidjan and culminating with a celebratory music and dance filled “meeting.”

“A valuable film and significant addition to [Jean Rouch’s] films available to Anglophone audiences… [GOUMBÉ OF THE YOUNG REVELERS] exposes another aspect of the expressive power of dreams and realities for urban West Africans in the early 1960s.” —Steven Feld, Editor and translator of Jean Rouch's Ciné-Ethnography, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

“A vibrant example of Rouch’s ethnographic filmmaking in the immediate post-independence period… subtly and humorously conveys Rouch’s and his subjects’ self-awareness regarding the recently changed formal status of Ivory Coast.” —Laure Astourian, Assistant Professor of French, Bentley University

“The joy of the music and dancing is palpable through the screen... a perfect example of Rouch’s approach to ethnographic filmmaking.” —Steven Guerrero, Educational Media Reviews Online

Venice Biennale, 1966

28 minutes / Color
French / English subtitles
Release: 2021
Copyright: 1965

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Subject areas:
Africa, Social Movements, Family Relations, Cultural Studies

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