La Biennale di Venezia

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Jean Rouch - Cousin, Cousine

Venice Classics

France (1985-1987) / 31’
language French
cast Damouré Zika, Mariama Hima, qualche gondoliere e piroghiere
ideas, screenplay and improvisations Jean Rouch, Damouré Zika, Mariama Hima (and Gentile Bellini)

restoration curated by CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée)
film laboratory L21



Mariama and Damouré, two cousins, are in Venice looking for a relic—or fetish—lost a long time ago, as in one of Gentile Bellini’s famous paintings. Mariama shows Damouré the city, taking him to a boatshed to see how gondolas are built (a process very different from the way a dugout is made) or talking with him about those strange creatures that live on water, the Venetians... Moving then from the Grand Canal to the Niger River, the two mischievous cousins reveal to us that the relic is none other than the ritual ax of Dongo, the spirit of thunder... A “caprice” invented in Venice by Jean Rouch and his two friends, who came to the festival in 1985 to present a film made by Mariama Hima, Falaw (which won an award).


The restoration has been carried out in its entirety by the French CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée) and executed by the L21 laboratory. The original elements of the reversible 16 mm film have been scanned in 2K.

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