×

I Am Tired of Standing, I Lie Down

Top ethnographic helmer Jean Rouch returns to the outback of Nigeria to film three of his old friends dreaming under a tree, in a whimsical fantasy about the power of the imagination. Though "I Am Tired of Standing, I Lie Down" at times comes close to documentary, it goes a lot deeper than standard-issue docus on Africa. Its lack of spectacular shots and ruminating rhythm target it for quality TV, where most of Rouch's 150 films have found their audiences. The trio, Damoure, Lam and Tallou, explain that their country is upside down --- when it rains, for example, the river dries up. Following the example of a talking, practically horizontal Gao-beri tree (which says it is tired of standing up and has decided to lie down), they comically stretch out for a siesta and dream. The tree advises them to call on the god of thunder and the spirit of water to ask for an end to the drought.

With:
With: Damoure Zika, Lam Ibrahim Dia, Tallou Mouzourane.

When Rouch digs in to film village rain dances and rituals, pic slows down and becomes solidly informational, losing altitude. Most of the rituals, although explained by the villagers, remain incomprehensible to outsiders. But just when the litany of legends gets monotonous, Rouch throws in another bit of magic — ghosts, a flood — to wake up the audience. In the end, the chatty Gao-beri tree gets back on its feet, as do our heroes.

Shot in washed-out, sometimes shaky handheld 16mm, pic piques the imagination more than one’s visual sense. Flashes of scenes from Rouch’s early films are cleverly worked into the plot as the oldsters’ fantasy-memories of “when we were young, in Paris …”

I Am Tired of Standing, I Lie Down

French - Nigerian

Production: A Comite du Film Ethnographique/CNRS/Centre Culturel Franco Nigerien/IRSH production. (International sales: Comite du Film Ethnographique, Paris.) Directed, written by Jean Rouch.

Crew: Camera (color, 16mm), Rouch; editor, Francoise Beloux; music, Hamidou Godye; sound, Francois Didio. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 22, 1997. Running time: 85 MIN.

With: With: Damoure Zika, Lam Ibrahim Dia, Tallou Mouzourane.

More Film

  • Rachel Brosnahan25th Annual Screen Actors Guild

    Film News Roundup: Rachel Brosnahan Starring in Sci-Fi Movie 'Distant'

    In today’s film news roundup, Rachel Brosnahan will try science-fiction, documentaries about Herb Alpert and Sasha Joseph Neulinger find homes, and Cameron Boyce’s “Runt” gets a premiere. CASTING Rachel Brosnahan will star with Anthony Ramos in Amblin Partners’ upcoming comedic sci-fi film “Distant.” Will Speck and Josh Gordon will direct from Spenser Cohen’s script about [...]

  • Aldis Hodge Regina King

    Aldis Hodge Gushes Over Working With First-Time Film Director Regina King

    Regina King is on a roll. After winning an Oscar for “If Beale Street Could Talk” and starring as masked vigilante Sister Knight in HBO’s “Watchmen,” King is gearing up to make her film directing debut with “One Night in Miami.” Adapted by Kemp Powers from his play of the same name, the film dramatizes a [...]

  • Jon Berg

    Netflix Developing Female-Fronted Comedy Film With Jon Berg (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix is developing an untitled female-led comedy with producer Jon Berg, the former Warner Bros.’ co-president of production. The writing team of Jordan Roter (“The Tear Down,” “Camp Rules”) and Monica Corcoran Harel (New York Times, Marie Claire) has been attached to write the project. Netflix is keeping the logline under wraps. The project will [...]

  • Bob Chapek Disney CEO

    Why Wall Street Is Unhappy (for Now) With Disney's CEO Change

    We all knew the end was coming. Bob Iger had promised, time and again, that the end was coming. But the rather abrupt announcement Tuesday afternoon that he would relinquish his longtime role as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. — and that theme parks head Bob Chapek would succeed him at the top of [...]

  • Dau

    'DAU. Natasha': Film Review

    There’s a school of critical thought that believes no contextual details or backstory to a film — be they to do with its source material, the circumstances of its production, or its makers’ motivation — should be examined or factored into a review of it, that the final product up on the screen is the [...]

  • The Invisible Man Movie

    Box Office: 'The Invisible Man' Eyes $20 Million-Plus Debut

    With “The Invisible Man,” a terrifying thriller starring Elisabeth Moss, Universal is attempting to revive the cinematic prospects for its classic monster properties. After “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise flamed out theaters in 2017, the studio scraped its plans to form an interconnected Dark Universe and instead retooled its vision to create standalone stories unique [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content