Video

Finagnon

Gary Kibbins

1996, 70:00 minutes, B&W, English

TAPECODE 049.10

Finagnon is the name of a French language schoolbook from the Republique of Benin. It features a 10 year old boy named Finagnon. With its stories and lessons, the book is a recurring point of reference in this film, from which forays are made into a wide range of images, thoughts, historical segments and narrative fragments. These fragments tie together issues about colonialism, language and imperialism.They explore Erasmus' views about women and books; the similarity between our expectations and those of chickens; between archery and language; as well as our prohibitively bookish understanding of life in Benin.
In seeking to understand an unknown subject, one typically defers to what is already familiar. Ideas are tested in an organized scramble as they jump from thing to thing in search of a productive approach. The film is an experiment in approximating this process of thinking.

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