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2008, Fri, Sep 19

Small Paths - Complex Stories

Who is looking at whose poverty? - Alliances and salutations

Mahmoud Mazouni in

Mahmoud Mazouni in "Clichy" | © Clichy


Deutsche Wochenschau (German newsreel) No. 521/36/1940

4 min, 35 mm, German OV

Original sound: ‘Paris, the so-called City of Light seen from a different side for a change.’ A German home for white and black-collar workers follows a report on ‘slums’ in occupied France.


Aubervilliers

R: Eli Lotar, Text: Jacques Prévert, F 1946, 24 min, 35 mm, French with German subtitles

The industrial suburb of Aubervilliers: refuse-incineration plants, improvised housing, and people working with caustic soda. Pierre Laval, author of the Decree of 1934, which closely monitored films made in colonial, Francophone Africa, served there as mayor for almost twenty years before he was executed as a collaborator in 1944. In the film, he comes across as a man who promised ‘heaven on earth’: modern houses, sunlight, reasonably priced accommodation, running water, a model school, playgrounds and kindergartens.’


Clichy (Scopitone)

P: Davis Boyer ca. 5 min, Arabic OV

Mohamed Mazouni, the dandy of Algerian Yé-Yé, sings about work on construction sites in France.


Les trois cousins – eux et nous

R: René Vautier, France 1969, 20 min, French OV

Three cousins – Faruk, Hamid and Mohammed (played by Mohammed Zinet) set off to find work in Algerian Paris, the Paris of the Bidonvilles. The film came about through long talks with the participants: ‘There is no way we’ll let them show the poverty so that they can show how we live. The last thing we want is pity.’ It ends with the cousins suffocating in their hut – a not-so-uncommon occurrence with the improvised heaters used at the time. Filmed as an Algerian-French co-production in Nanterre (and at other locations).


Le Glas

R: René Vautier, Algeria/Rhodesia 1964, 5 min, French OV, voice-over Djibril Diop Mambéty

The film, made in co-operation with ZAPU (Zimbabwe African Party for Unity), is about three African revolutionaries who were hanged in Salisbury. It was banned in France. A visual requiem. Vautier: ‘Write the story in pictures – immediately!’