Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This documentary, which won the prestigious FIPRESCI award at the Venice Film Festival in 1979, follows the funeral rituals for a Dongo tribesman who died in Bandiagara in the mid-1970s. His death was especially significant, and the funeral correspondingly elaborate (taking many years to prepare), because he was born in 1849, and was well over 120 years old at the time of his death. Anthropologist Jean Rouch was especially notable for his anthropologically-informed African film features and for the many decades he spent training and encouraging African filmmakers. He was able to go into places that few had heard of, and even fewer were allowed to enter, in order to make memorable documentaries.