Rina Sherman
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Rina Sherman Retrospective

Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac

Documentary Film Month 2015 Edition

November 19, 2015, Paris

For this edition of Documentary Film Month, the Musée du quai Branly in Paris presents a Retrospective of Rina Sherman’s films.

Rina Sherman began making films in South Africa during the last years of apartheid.

In a direct relationship with the people she films, while both seeking visual expression and leaving a large place for improvisation, Rina Sherman finds a discreet continuity between powerful moments and everyday life. Whether she films in urban or rural environments, she forges close ties with her characters, frames both speech and moving bodies tightly and awards the people she films the freedom to be who they are.
Rina Sherman presents two aspects of her work:

Part 1: City life

Since her debut in film, Rina Sherman has shown keen interest urban environments. Fascinated by how people live in cities, with a hand-held camera, she follows their evolution in cities around the world, from the outskirts of Johannesburg to the suburbs of Paris. Throughout her films, she has developed an intimate expression, always close to the people she films, while leaving room for improvisation and performance.

Chicken Movie. Cluck!
16 mm, 20 min, 1714
Johannesburg in the early 80s. An urban poem that evokes the zeitgeist of the state of emergency period in South Africa. A chauffeur drives his Madame around Johannesburg; they visit friends, townships, vacant lots. The trip ends with a nuptial funeral ball with men dancing to the crow of a cock and the rhythm of Zulu music.
Ekhaya Revisited, land of shadows
Video Hi-8/16 mm, 52 min, 1990-2
A film about my return visit to South Africa after seven years of exile in France. Camera in hand, I left in search of my souvenirs, real or invented by absence. I found my parents six years older, my family and the landscapes that shaped my childhood. As I crossed this vast land, a single preoccupation transpired as people expressed themselves, from squatters to wine farmers: The promise of the new South Africa; we want to stay here!

M. M. Les locataires
16 mm, 64 min, 1995
A film about life in Noisy-le-Sec, a suburb of Paris. The film's characters, residents or guests (Jean Rouch, Germaine Dieterlen, Féodor Atkine ...) participate in the invention a story that explores, in parallel, past, present and future. In close contact with a handheld camera, they tell the stories of their lives and improvise a tale that is both authentic and imagined.
An egg with no shell
35 mm, 13 min, 1992
A film-opera based on a poem and original music by Rina Sherman. A male diva sings with a contralto voice while killing chickens in all its forms brought to him by a servant (Jean Rouch). Until a slave provides proof of his love for the chicken he has tucked under his arm, overcoming the impending destruction. The nightmare then becomes a dream.

Part 2: The Ovahimba Years

The Collection of the project "The Ovahimba Years" holds the data collection of seven years by Rina Sherman on the Ovahimba and related populations of the Kunene Region, in north-western Namibia and the provinces of Cunene and Namibia in the south-western Angola.

When Visitors Come
Video, 30min, 2006
A film about the relationship between the anthropologist, Rina Sherman Omuhimba and family with whom she lived for seven years, filming and photographing their daily life and ritual. Halfway through her stay in the field, Rina Sherman presented a multimedia exhibition entitled “Ovahimba Years: Work in progress” in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. A group of young people in the community Etanga came to Windhoek to participate in the exhibition.
Keep the dance alive
Video 75 min – 2007 / 52 min
A unique journey through music, dance and spirit possession practices of the Ovahimba people of northwestern Namibia and southwestern Angola. Keep the Dance Alive shows outstanding images of how dance and spirit possession are integrated into daily life, from childhood to death.

7PM: Avant-première
Wiping the Tears
Video, 75 min – 2012
"Wiping the Tears" takes us to the heart of the Ovahimba community of Etanga, a small village in the north-west of Namibia. It immerses us in the passion between a woman, her husband and her lover, and the court case that ensues, the consequences of which are dramatic for them, their families and their community.