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also known as Savage Africa

Congolaise1950

  • 3.3
This fascinating documentary was made in conjunction with a group of French scientists who spent fourteen months traveling along the Ogowe (aka Ogooue) River in central Africa, recording and studying timeless tribal lifestyles en route that were likely to confront modernity all too soon. The U.S. version starts out in typical fashion for ethnographic docs of the time, as a wiseguy narrator sets up our journey into "Darkest Africa," makes corny jokes and offers observations like “The pygmy is surprisingly clean and healthy!” But that condescending tone is soon left behind in favor of straightforward observation. Much attention is paid to hunting (by humans and other mammals alike) with some pretty harrowing moments as man stalks leopard, elephant and gorilla, while lions stalk zebra, warthog and man. Food preparation, religious belief, ritual ceremonies, customs of dress (and, no doubt titillatingly for Western audiences of this era, degrees of undress) are captured with respectful intimacy and very little "Great White Explorer" posturing. Jacques Dupont's feature (which was originally released in some countries as SAVAGE AFRICA) also sports moments of rare beauty that must have been thrilling to audiences at the time, like slow-motion shots of leaping impalas. - Dennis Harvey

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Member Reviews (1)

Very interesting! The size of the ape that they kill in the end, reminds me of KING KONG, it is that big. The way it was and will be no more.