Black Girl

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Senegal | 1966 | 65 minutes | Ousmane Sembène

This 1966 film explores the complex dynamics and larger post-colonial implications that arise between a young Senegalese maid and the French family that employs her. This quiet, observational drama was esteemed African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène’s first feature film. Restored by The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project at Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratoy.

Monday, June 1, 2015

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Diouana is a young black woman who has accepted a job as a governess to a wealthy family in the French Riviera. Excited for her new job in glamorous France, her dreams of the cosmopolitan life are quickly dashed when her employers treat her more like a slave than hired help. Diouana tries to keep positive and keep her depression at bay, dressing up fancy to do chores and anticipating when the children will come back from their school abroad so she can focus on something other than tedious housework. Her employers, especially the lady of the house, begin to constantly berate her based on her race and her illiteracy, forcing her to wear shabby clothing while she does her work, and not allowing her to leave the house to enjoy time in the city. Diouana falls into a deep pit of despair as she comes to terms with her alienation and new life as a lowly servant to this posh French family. Acclaimed African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène crafts this heartbreaking, observation drama that addresses the effects of colonialism and personal identity. Restored by The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Sembène Estate, Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, INA, and Centre National de Cinematographie, CNC. Restoration carried out at Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory, Eclair Laboratories. 

Director Biography
Considered the “father of African film,” Ousmane Sembène was an acclaimed Senegalese filmmaker and writer. He wrote several books and studied filmmaking at Gorky Film Studio in Moscow, and in 1963 produced his first short film Barom Sarret. Sembène’s films are an essential social commentary, touching on themes of colonialism, religion, and women’s issues.

Sponsored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Delta Air Lines, KIXI 880 AM

  • Original Language Title: La Noire de...
  • Director: Ousmane Sembène
  • Principal Cast: Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek, Robert Fontaine
  • Country: Senegal
  • Year: 1966
  • Running Time: 65 minutes
  • Producer: André Zwoboda
  • Screenplay: Ousmane Sembène
  • Cinematographers: Christian Lacoste
  • Editors: André Gaudier
  • Filmography: Moolaadé (2004), Faat Kiné (2001), Guelwaar (1992), The Camp at Thiaroye (1988), Outsiders (1977), The Curse (1975), Emitaï (1971), The Money Order (1968)
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes