Black Girl

(La Noire de…)
Senegal/France 1966. Dir: Ousmane Sembène. 65 min. DCP

“An astonishing movie — so ferocious, so haunting, and so unlike anything we’d ever seen.”

NEW RESTORATION | A landmark of the African cinema celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new restoration! Black Girl, the eye-opening debut feature of Senegalese novelist and master filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (Xala, Ceddo, Moolaadé), the “Father of African Cinema,” is credited with being first feature made in sub-Saharan Africa by a black African director. When Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop), a naïve young Dakar housemaid, relocates to the French Riviera with the French family she works for, her dreams of an exiting new life are quickly supplanted by the realities of domestic drudgery and racist and colonialist attitudes. Diop, in her first role, shines in Sembène’s incisive, deceptively simple character study. The film’s luminous black-and-white images have great expressive power. Black Girl won France’s Prix Jean Vigo, awarded for “independence of spirit and originality of style,” and launched the career of one of world cinema’s essential talents.

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Borom Sarret
(The Wagoner)

Senegal 1963. Dir: Ousmane Sembène. 20 min. DCP

A poor man tries to eke out a living as a cart driver in Dakar in Ousmane Sembène’s striking neorealist short, said to be the first film ever made by a black African. “It isn’t just a milestone, it’s an outstanding work: funny, insightful, beautifully shot, and heartbreaking” (Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian).



“Dense with cool fury ... Five decades after its premiere, the movie, like all of Sembène’s work, remains too little seen.”

Village Voice | full review