Accepted paper:

When protagonist becomes co-director, and how a moment of grace completed the scene

Authors:

Christian Vium (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I present a scene from the film 'Jew-Man Business', and discuss how the scene came about and how a particular moment of grace made the narrative of the scene even stronger than what the protagonist, Junior, who to a large degree led the way, had imagined.

Paper long abstract:

In 2009, I was filming an ethnographic documentary film in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on a commission from fellow anthropological researchers. The film followed three young men who had been involved in the civil war and who were now trying to create a new life for themselves and their families in the wake of the atrocities the experienced and were part of. In this paper, I present a scene from the film 'Jew-Man Business', and discuss how the scene came about and how a particular moment of grace made the narrative of the scene even stronger than what the protagonist, Junior, who to a large degree led the way, had imagined. The scene was composed of footage recorded in a single day and is largely chronological. While recording the material, it was evident that Junior was attempting to his personal version of a particular, dramatic story that has largely formed his life. In a cunning and discrete way, he would lead our conversation to certain topics and use specific gestures and glances to identify the parts of the story that were most important to him. At a certain point, his small daughter enters the scene and this intensifies the scene by reinforcing Junior's narrative dramatically. In this paper, I want to discuss how I worked together with an editor to flesh out the protagonists' visions while at the same time nurturing the moments of grace that appeared along the way.

panel P075
Grace: unexpected moments in ethnographic films