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Directed by Ousmane Sembene

Senegal 1966 65 mins.

Sembene, the unofficial “father” of African cinema, made his feature film debut with the ravishing Black Girl, a meditation on the deeply felt effects of the European colonial project on Africa and African women in particular. Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop), a young Senegalese woman, moves to France with dreams of a better life, with sophisticated leanings. Diouana works as a nanny for a wealthy couple, but before long it becomes clear that the couple intend to have Diouana do more than just nanny, and quickly Diouana’s new life spirals out of control and leads directly toward a shocking denoument—”there are few endings in all of cinema as powerful and rich as this—brimming with tragic wisdom and latent meaning, with finality and promise, with humor and pain.”—Jonathan Rosenbaum. (French with English subtitles.)


Borom Sarret
Senegal 1963
Director: Ousmane Sembene
Sembene’s first film, widely referred to as the first film ever made by a black African, is a neorealist examination of the daily labor of a wagon driver and his travails scraping out a rough existence in Dakar. (20 mins., DCP, French with English subtitles.)

The Guardian‘s Jordan Hoffman on the 50th anniversary of Black Girl.

The New York Times’ A. O. Scott on Black Girl.