Dir. Ousmane Sembène
1966, Senegal, 59 min
French and Wolof with English subtitles
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.
Borom Sarret, Dir. Ousmane Sembène, 1963, Senegal, 18 min
In celebration of his centennial year, the Dave Barber Cinematheque presents Janus Films’ retrospective of Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène’s work, including three new 4K restorations of Emitaï, Xala, and Ceddo.
“If you are a human being—if you believe for one second that justice is a must, that equality is a must, that racism must perish, that colonialism must perish, that the dominance of money, of capital over other forms of creating happiness for humans must stop—then you must see all the films of Ousmane Sembène.” Aboubakar Sanogo, curator and professor, Carleton University