Who Is Your Grandfather?
(Y yaab la a boê?)

Rikisaburo Sato, Sunjha Kim
Germany 2016 | 24 Min. | OmeU
Q&A with: Rikisaburo Sato, Sunjha Kim

During an annual Mossi people ritual, which takes place in Ouegue­do in Burk­i­na Faso, sto­ries of the ances­tors are told in drum lan­guage. “Who is your grand­fa­ther?” cries the master of the cer­e­mo­ny to the chief of the tribe and to all those present, after the ritual sac­ri­fice of a beast. “Who is your grand­fa­ther?” In response, the ‘benda’ gives the names of ances­tors and tells the anec­dotes that relate to them, in rhythm. This is how the oral his­to­ry is trans­mit­ted from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. Although the idea for the film was inspired by the writ­ings and field stud­ies of the Japan­ese anthro­pol­o­gist Junzo Kawada, the result is, sur­pris­ing­ly, scarce­ly aca­d­e­m­ic. Play­ing with the image edit­ing to find a shared form between the cin­e­mato­graph­ic ges­ture and the doc­u­ment­ed rite, here it is the sen­so­r­i­al expe­ri­ence that takes prece­dence over knowl­edge in a fusion of rhythm and words. We will not under­stand every­thing that hap­pens on screen, and, how could we? Who is Your Grand­fa­ther? thus sounds like an anthro­po­log­i­cal film saying its good­byes to sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge through the medium of cinema itself. (Visions du Réel: Mourad Moussa)