From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Perseverance Conquers Difficulties

Antonio Perticara


In the film Les Maitres Fous (1955), Jean Rouch shows how the psychic disorders caused by colonial violence are overcome and resolved by the Hauka sect through a readaptation of tribal religion to the new situation. Maintaining the old rites of possession characteristic of their magic-religious tradition, the Hauka let themselves be possessed by the gods of the "new pantheon": the spirit of the governor, the train driver and so on. Starting from this episode, the work Perseverance conquers difficulties stimulates reflections to overcome the mere contemplation of the historical document and enhance instead the balancing function of the scandalous and bloody Hauka ritual. As a result, the covertly-ironical performance proposed while traveling on the z221 bus on the occasion of the Monza Biennale, accompanied by the guided meditation audio, questions the nature and effectiveness of European-style meditative practices.


postcolonialism, Jean Rouch, Hauka, ritual



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