Film and Knowledge: Jean Rouch and the Manic Priests
Sociology University of São Paulo São Paulo, Brazil
This paper analyze an iconic films from documental cinema in their relationships with the Social Sciences (Les Maîtres Fous, Jean Rouch) based on the theoretical assumptions made by Foucault in his text What is an author? having also as reference the typological modes of documentary films proposed by Bill Nichols. Based in these assumptions, takes theoretical position among the various possibilities of different Sociologies of Art, in the direction pointed by Adorno in his polemics with Lukács, for a "reading against the grain", trying to reconstruct the concepts and tessiture (texture) of social discourses by the internal analyses of art works. Deals consequently with the constraints that the author as a function and the name of an author promotes in the direction of a search of an internal logic that defines from the outside the art work and its insertion in an greater coherent totality called "Work of an author". In this direction we interpret these films as Discourses and not as the films of their Directors. The option for this way force the analyst to catch an epistemological detour where the films are no longer seen as evidences of their stories (a ritual description) but inquired in the fundamental concepts of its filmic narration, dialectic units of form and content. The analysis remarks the elements and circumstances that allow the construction of a conceptual frame that places and constitutes the Other as "other" centered in the concept of civilization.
Remarks also the principles and elements imbricated in the options assumed by the director/author in order to constitute a filmic narrative discourse as a general truth about the "other". This allows to apprehend that there is another discourse that permeate the story of the African ritual that conceptualizes the participants and constitutes their position in the world in a more vigorous way as it is disseminated as tessiture of discourse and not as a visible evidence.
A discourse that seems to be "neutral" by the use of the artifice of the Voice-of-God narration but that at the same time pushes their moral propositions to an extreme.