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Travel in the black Switzerland

in 1959, the Bernese travel writer René Gardi (1909-2000) drove with a small team in the Mandara mountains in North Cameroon to shoot his first ethnographic documentary. The residents of a Village in the Sattalatal, some of whom are naked and sweat-covered forged in the blast furnaces, exercised a great fascination on him. They were gracious and curious peasants. They were not as free as our Alpine, just darker? In Cameroon René Gardi was his dream land. A "prehistoric landscape" with people it means to live like "kings without subjects", such as in the opening credits of "Mandara" (1960).

in fact, Cameroon was under British and French administration. The fact remained René Gardi is not hidden, and finally he accompanied the French colonial officials during the Driving of the control. But the charge has not had to pay the "untamed" Cameroonian, so a lot of it was Yes. Gardi focused on the injustice of barely – because he was looking for strong, Wild, which, however, were so obstinate that the Europeans had to be a role model in life. Most of all he would have built a fence around his hill people, and to protect it from the harmful influences of the Modern.

In the cinema a big success

René Gardi has brought a whole Generation in Switzerland and in Africa, on numerous Swiss-German sofa, tables, photo books, and trip reports from Cameroon and the Sahara locations. Gardi continued with the slide projector through the country, wrote articles in the "Swiss Illustrate" and also appeared over the years in the show, "René Gardi told," for the Swiss television. In cinemas Mandara "was" a major success at the Berlinale, the Film received a special mention.

A good punch line so that the archive film "African Mirror" by Mischa Hedinger was yesterday premiered at the Berlinale, and in the experimental section "Forum". Hedinger has managed to acquire Gardis extensive estate, now the many audio tapes and diaries are located in the Bernese state archive. "African Mirror" is virtually created solely from this Material: a partly unpublished film shots, and Gardis texts, read aloud from the Off.

The Film is clever because it exposes Gardis image of Africa with their own weapons: a disassembly Assembly. René Gardi on broke as the discoverer and protector, into the allegedly untouched country and directed places of Yearning for the Primal, where shy Primitive life in the Bush. If you play in a scene well, he gave you a "Fünfernötli" in the Hand. You talk, or even eat with them, he didn't like, however. Because you want that as a native next to a on the ground, sit with your bare fingers its sticky "Hirsechrugle" eats? "I know de nid."

Erotisierter view

Hardly known, Gardi had been taken because of "indecent acts" with students in Bern in 1944, a suicide attempt. There is in his pictures a eroticised views of dark-Skinned, but "African Mirror" provides no psychological theses. The 1984-born Mischa Hedinger shows in his first feature-length documentary easy as Gardi fantasized a continent according to its interior Africa.

"During the Research, I've realized how much the people enthusiastic Gardi images still succumb," says the Director. And it's true, don't you feel even a Pull in the chest, if the landscape of North Cameroon comes into the picture? What is René Gardi, the Switzerland of Africa showed, was a projection of what ausblendete oppression. "African Mirror" reflects this view, reflects him to us: Are we immune today against such a reverie?

Colonial entangled

It is amazing that until today there is no systematic criticism of Gardis. The collection of "post-colonial Switzerland" of 2012 included an essay to Gardis Cameroon trip, recently, the Dissertation appeared to be "Moving pictures for the developed world" by Felix Rauh, the Gardis in the context of development aid evaluated.

it was Only in the past few years, historians have transferred the post-colonial research targeted to the Swiss context and, thus, shown that the old Consequently, have quite a lot to do with our globalized world. The "Postcolonial Studies" questions, to what extent was entangled Switzerland to the colonial project, without even the colonies had, and how notions of white domination in the minds of outlast. Gardis powerful travel reports show that in this country the colonial images were produced, which act in the national consciousness until today.

Typical of colonialist Thinking is an attitude of paternalism: His audience advised Gardi, due to a couple of friendly African faces from the Help prevent. He found the White would have brought the social balance in countries such as Cameroon. In the process, Gardi traveled in a time to Africa, as the independence movements were noticeable in many places. The move, however, he saw rather a Ruin by consumer goods and Kitsch, a Jiffy-modernization of the donation bag and the ridiculous hybridization. What is just out of his backwoods?

"René Gardi has created for Switzerland, the colonies," says Hedinger. Because Gardis Africa exists only in the imagination, we have to enter it all already, and what's the power now to us: a dreamer, or violent rulers?

From the autumn in cinemas.


Created: 08.02.2019, 19:18 Uhr

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