Review by Choice Review
In his preface, Rohdie (Queen's Univ., Belfast) calls his book "vagrant." It is quirky, personal, sometimes contradictory, and anecdotal with scanty documentation. It is not in any clear sense a book on cinema, since it also ranges impressionistically over issues of ethnography, colonialism, geography, photography, painting, and modernist epistemology. Rohdie's unsystematic cogitation will not be seen as useful by many scholars and students, and the author has made no discernible effort to present it in such terms. But the book will be of interest, particularly to thoughtful students of early cinema. Rohdie offers discussions of early photographic and cinematic projects little discussed in the US--Les Archives de la planete (a collection of autochromes and film assembled by Albert Kahn and Jean Brunhes), Pere Francis Aupiais's Le Dahomey Chretien (1930) and his unfinished La Dahomey religieux (both in Kahn's archives), and Marc Allegret's Voyage au Congo (1921). Rohdie discusses these works in the context of Orson Welles, canonical Italian and French film, the history of early-20th-century colonialism, and the ethnographic debates of the time. Although his conclusions are largely familiar, his approach is so consistently novel that his work will provide real rewards to an interested reader. Recommended for collections serving eclectic and interdisciplinary programs. Upper-division undergraduates and above. K. S. Nolley Willamette University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.