Crossing the Great Sagrada

© Crossing the Great Sagrada (Adrien Brunel, 1924)

Crossing the Great Sagrada

Adrian Brunel moslty made silent films. After decades of neglect, his work has recently been rediscovered and lauded by film historians for its intelligence, sophistication, and humour.

Crossing the Great Sagrada consists almost exclusively of outtakes from travelogues. The title is a pun on Crossing the Great Sahara, one of the popular travel films of the 1920s that documented “other cultures” in a way that reflected imperial, nationalistic, and often racist stereotypes.

Adding subtitles to the existing intertitles, Brunel undermines the authenticity of the scenes presented and unmasks the colonial look at “foreign” countries. The film comments on then widely used ethnographic shots meant to represent the continent of Africa by highlighting some of its popular misrepresentations and the overall artificiality of these colonial narratives.