Part of the film series "Blackness in French and Francophone Film" organized by the Columbia Maison Française and co-sponsored by the School of the Arts.
Ousmane Sembène was one of the world's greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring film Black Girl. 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 family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by M’Bissine 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.
Columbia University co-sponsors of Blackness in French and Francophone Film: Maison Française; School of the Arts; Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality; Institute for African Studies; Columbia Global Centers/Paris; European Institute; and Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities.
Film series presented with support from the Paul LeClerc Centennial Fund, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, la Scam, and the Knapp Family Foundation