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Cocorico Monsieur Poulet

Posted by martinteller on July 26, 2012

The entrepreneurial Lam (Lam Ibrahim Dia) has a plan to pick up chickens cheap in the wild and sell them for a massive profit in the city.  With his sidekick Tallou (Tallou Mouzourane) and his opportunistic friend Damouré (Damouré Zika) they head for the bush in a ramshackle van nicknamed “Patience”.  They’re in for a series of adventures and misfortunes, including police, a flat tire, disappearing villages, a hunter/devil/witch woman who keeps losing her animals, a river that must be crossed three times (in three different ways)… and their own doppelgangers.

My previous experiences with Jean Rouch have simply been for the sake of completing the TSPDT list, tackling his offbeat documentaries Les Maîtres fous and Chronicle of a Summer.  I enjoyed both of those and I loved this, so I’ll have to explore his massive filmography further.  Originally intended as a documentary about a Niger chicken vendor, the film was transformed into a mostly improvised fiction, an African take on the classic road movie. 

The movie is wildly unpredictable, often hilarious, loaded with charm and with just enough strangeness to keep it interesting.  These are three great characters with delightful, natural performances.  And “Patience” is just as much a character as any human in the film, this beat-up, falling apart vehicle that causes constant problems, incongruous with the wild, barren bush area.  You see a lot of the culture without feeling like you’re being beaten over the head with an anthropology lesson.  But most of all, the film is simply funny and a joy to watch unfold.  Rating: Great (90)


One Response to “Cocorico Monsieur Poulet”

  1. […] 44. Cocorico Monsieur Poulet (1974, Jean Rouch) […]

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