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by Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi


“We pore over material relating to Italian colonial Ethiopia (Abyssinia), recently unearthed in a private film archive. We scour those individual film frames of colonialism, studying them with a magnifying lens, and transcribe the captions. The material was intended for private home viewing, in silence. In these filmic fragments, examined by hand, without a projector, are indications of who owned the films, those sequences to which they returned over and over. Ours is a dual reading, that of the images themselves and the way in which they were consumed. An Ethiopian woman on her knees wearing a top that leaves her breasts bare, a bearded soldier who washes her head symbolically: certain words recur in the captions, such as barbaric, primitive, pillager, bigamy. Among the films we find a number of military sequences showing the violence of the Italian venture to conquer Ethiopia and the phrase: ‘Civilization now dawns in this primitive and barbaric country’. These constitute an image of Mussolini in Africa: a message to the masses via his physical attributes, a unique, unequaled icon.” (Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi)

original title: Pays barbare
country: France
sales agent: Pathé International
year: 2013
genre: documentary
directed by: Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi
film run: 65'
production: Les Films d'Ici
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