Black Girl (1966)
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The first major work of Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene, this 1966 film is widely recognized as one of the founding works of African cinema. Diouanne Therese N'Bissine Diop, a young Senegalese woman, is employed as a governess for a French family in the city of Dakar. She soon becomes disillusioned when the family travels to the Riviera, where her comfortable duties as a nanny in a wealthy household are replaced by the drudgery and indignities of a maid. In a series of escalating confrontations with her mistress (Anne-Marie Jelinek), Diouanne is painfully reminded of her racial identity. She is caught in the tension between the French upper-class and post-colonial West Africa and finds herself alienated from both worlds. Along with narration and dialogue in French, this film also shares the sparse tone and visual style of French cinema of its period. Nevertheless, the influence of Sembene's European counterparts does not diminish this subtle but striking examination of racial and cultural prejudice. ~ Jonathan E. Laxamana, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Black Girl
One of the great early films from Senegalese novelist turned filmmaker Ousmane Sembene.
A remarkably resonant portrait of cultural (hence, spiritual) dislocation and death
Sembene keeps his metaphors under control, and the result is a message movie with an unusual depth of characterization.
The weakness of Black Girl is in its slow, journeyman style; one feels that Sembene learned filmmaking by making this film.
Audience Reviews for Black Girl
[font=Century Gothic]"Black Girl" is an incisive allegory from Ousmane Sembene about the relationship between France and Senegal, made shortly after Senegal's gaining its independence. Diouana(Mbissine Therese Diop), like many others in Dakar, is unemployed and looking for work. Luckily enough, she finds work as a nursery maid for a French couple(Anne-Marie Jelinek & Robert Fontaine) who have three young children. At the beginning of her employment, Diouana brings them a native mask as a gift. When they move back to France, they bring along Diouana but they mislead her as to what her responsibilities will be, leaving her to feel exploited and trapped inside an apartment all day long as she is separated both from the vibrant France she imagines and the support system she left behind in Senegal. To add to this, she suffers the condescension and lack of respect from the other French people she encounters as she serves them at the dinner table.[/font]More
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