TRINH T. Minh-ha
The first 16 mm film directed by TRINH T. Minh-ha, a Vietnamese filmmaker, composer, writer, and prominent scholar in feminism and post-colonialism, Reassemblage is an ethnographic film that provides a keen analysis and criticism of the conventional gaze of ethnographic films. But TRINH does not completely exclude the sounds and images that were frequently featured in ethnographic films about Africa—the traditional Senegalese music with prominent drums, the sound of pounding grains, exotic dances, colorful clothes and ornaments, bare breasted women, nursing babies, and a cloud of dust rising in the background.But instead of reexplaining the history and customs of Senegal, TRINH reframes and reassembles the sounds and scenery to break down the significance vested in these images and destroy the authority and authenticity of such gaze. By arranging the images of Senegalese women’s bare breasts and ornately decorated faces, captured and framed from different angles and as close-ups, TRINH foregrounds the imperialistic gaze that gives meaning to even the simple gestures of nodding or running one’s fingers through hair and has produced fetishized images of Africa. In doing so, the film is “not speaking about but speaking nearby.” (CHO HyeYoung)
TRINH T. Minh-ha
TRINH T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer, composer and Professor of Rhetoric and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work includes: eight feature-length films (including among others Night Passage (2004), The Fourth Dimension (2001) and Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) honored in numerous retrospectives around the world.