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French filmmaker Jean Rouch killed in Niger

NIAMEY, Feb 19 (AFP) – French filmmaker and ethnologist Jean Rouch was killed overnight in northern Niger in a traffic accident, the French embassy in the West African country said on Thursday. He was 86.

The embassy press service said the exact details of the accident in Konni, some 400 kilometers (240 miles) northeast of the capital Niamey, were as yet unknown, though national radio reported that a truck was involved in the crash.

Laurent Clavel, director of the French-Niger cultural center said that Rouch’s traveling companions – his wife, Jocylene, Niger filmmaker Mustapha Allassane and his long-time partner actor Damoure Zika – were “doing well”. He declined to elaborate on their condition.

French ambassador to Niger, Denis Vene, traveled to the scene to ensure the rapid repatriation of Rouch’s body, which was expected in Niamey on Thursday afternoon and to be returned to France soon after.

Rouch’s wife, who appeared to not have been injured in the accident, was also to board a flight to return to the west African state’s capital, the embassy press service said.

Rouch had travelled to Niger for a celebration of Niger cinema, to which he contributed a retrospective of his work in west Africa since the 1940s.

A disciple of Marcel Griaule, Rouch sought to use his camera as a window into the world’s distinct ethnicities, traveling to Senegal, Niger, Mali and Ghana since 1941 to study the breadth of cultural diversity across west Africa.

His camera in hand, he assiduously avoided the label of professional filmmaker as he went on to create documentaries on subjects ranging from circumcision to rainmakers.

Born in Paris in May 1917, Rouch’s career spanned a half-century and included some 120 films, including anthropological classics such as “Myself, a Black,” which earned the prestigious Louis-Delluc award in 1958, and “The Mad Masters”.


                                                              Subject: France news