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Bataille sur le grand fleuve

A Short film by Jean Rouch, Roger Rosfelder

Produced by Institut Français - Afrique Noire (IFAN), Musée de l'Homme

Production year : 1951

  • Contents

Production and distribution


The Sorko fishermen hunt hippopotami on the Niger river with harpoons. Before their departure, a ceremony is held to question the spirit of the river as to the success of the hunt, which results in the capture of two hippopotami : a woman possessed by the spirit of the river dances and the fishermen spray magic water on her to stoke up their own courage. One female hippopotamus is killed and a young one captured alive. But an old male, solitary and fierce, despite his numerous harpoon wounds, succeeds in escaping after damaging the hunters’ great dug-out canoe.

Full credits

Director of Photography :

Jean Rouch

Technical details

Short film

Genres :


Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

100% French

Production year :


Runtime :

33 min

Color type :


Aspect ratio :


Audio format :