Forbidden Speech/Controlled Speech: Some Observations on the Role of the Word in Rouch's Films:


This work is about commentary and dialogue in Jean Rouch's ethnographic filming, mainly in his ethnofictions. It includes two parts. The first is an article on the role of speech in Rouch's films; the second is an interview with Rouch on the same subject. This was conducted and recorded by me in 1995 at the Café Bullier in Montparnasse, where Rouch used to have breakfeast every morning. When I met Rouch between two doors I told him that I intended to write a paper about language in his films. He called out, apparently without paying attention, "Ah! the speech taboo." As nothing is never said by chance, it seemed to me that this jest deserved some attention: the forbidden words...which ones, forbidden by whom, how and why?

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