France / Sweden, 1987 (MIFF 1988, Documentary)
Director: Jean Rouch, Titte Tornroth, Raul Ruiz
This three part film is just one clement of an extraordinary multi-media project initiated by the (obviously enlightened) French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sent a group of artists out for two weeks on a Swedish icebreaker in the Bothian Sea, where they gathered inspiration for their respective works The results included a musical composition, a radio doco, a photo album and a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle (!) in addition to this unique film, made up of 30 minute episodes by legendary French documentary filmmaker Jean Rouch, Swedish director Titte Tornroth, and the French-based Chilean exile Raul Ruiz. Each filmmaker uses as their starting point the same basic elements the eerie ice-hound landscape and the massive mechanical presence of the Frcj; their very different contributions eventually overlapping, complementing, extending one another in totally unexpected ways.
Jean Rouch, here far from the jungles of his beloved Africa, contributes Part 1, capturing without commentary, the hypnotic beauty of the frozen ocean and the hulking icebreaker
In Part 2, Titte Tornroth builds on much of Rouch's on-board itinerary, but introduces the ships crew explaining their daily routines
Finally, in Part 3, Raul Ruiz runs the material through his eccentric sensibility to create an imaginary fiction set ahoard the ship
The unique effect of having seen three variations of the same material within the same film provides a fascinating progres¬sion, an essay m documentary technique and a surprisingly involving cinematic experience.