Dir. Ousmane Sembène
1966, Senegal, 59 min
Ousmane Sembène, one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived and the most internationally renowned African director of the twentieth century, made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl (La noire de . . .). Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white couple and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a figurative and literal prison—into a complex, layered critique on the lingering colonialist mindset of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.
The Wagoner (Borom Sarret)
Dir. Ousmane Sembène, 1963, Senegal, 20 min
A cart-taxi driver goes to the city to make a living, but out of sympathy with other poverty-stricken people, he works for free and goes hungry himself.
Join us on February 4 for a post screening discussion with Iyuna Judah. Iyuna is an artist whose artistic exploration revolves around photography, film and sound. Originally from Ogun, Nigeria, his work explores the connections between symbolism, imaginary narratives like reincarnation and non-physical expressions. His focus has been on Black life and its relations to imaginary subjects. His works are inspired by curiosity to find identity in art.
Understanding what it means to encompass various parts of our identity through the act of remembering is one that is often complicated by the loss of generational knowledge. This consciousness is often passed down by ancestors but can be removed or erased from certain communities. The prioritization of western ways of mythology for the Black diaspora is asking of us to reanalyze what it means for the diaspora to have access to their autonomy of self-actualization of spirituality. The films in this series examine what it means to recollect histories and the ways we can conceptualize mythology.
Reimagining the Black Diaspora: Spirituality, Mythology and Collective Memory is generously sponsored by IATSE 856 Manitoba.
Fifty-one years after its initial release, this seminal film remains hauntingly relevant.
– Allison N. Conner, Bitch Media
A remarkable personal-is-political drama, set in barely postcolonial Senegal and France.
– Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times