Ousmane Sembène, one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers in world cinema, and the most internationally renowned African director of the twentieth century, made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl.
“An astonishing movie – so ferocious, so haunting and so unlike anything we’d ever seen.” – Martin Scorsese
Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman named Diouana who moves to France to work for a wealthy white couple, only to find that life in their small apartment becomes a figurative and literal prison, a situation that Diouana refuses to accept —into a complex, layered critique on the lingering colonialist mindset of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by Mbissine Thérèse Diop and luminous black and white images that gleam anew in this 50th anniversary restoration, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s. (Dir. by Ousmane Sembène 1966, Senegal/France, in French with English subtitles, 65 mins., Not Rated)