A controversial documentation of the annual ceremony of the Hauku cult, a religious movement widespread in Niger and Ghana from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Les maîtres fous (Mad masters) shows the rituals of a religious cult. Hauka worshippers, workers who have travelled from along the Niger to Accra, meet for their great annual ceremony. On the "concession" of the high priest Mountbyéba, following public confessions, the spirit possession ritual begins. Foaming at the mouth, trembling, panting: these are signs of the arrival of the "spirits of power", the symbolic personification of colonial rule: the corporal of the guard, the governor, the doctor, the captain's wife, the locomotive driver, and others. The ceremony reaches its climax with the sacrifice of a dog later to be eaten by those possessed by the spirits. The next day, the cult's initiates return to their daily round.
Dir: Jean Rouch, 1954; 35 minutes: