Ousmane Sembène, otherwise known as the father of African cinema, is one of the key figures of world cinema, and yet his works—still relevant today—remain unknown to many.
Through this programme we will explore his work through the new and highly acclaimed documentary Sembène!, capturing the life of this prolific filmmaker. This will be screened alongside three of Sembène’s films explored in the documentary: Xala, Moolaadé and Black Girl, each of which was in itself a key and groundbreaking work of world cinema.
Ousmane Sembène’s first feature is by turns tough, swift, and true in its aim. The film tells the tragic story of Diouana, a young Senegalese woman who finds work as a childminder for a French couple in Dakar. When the couple return to the south of France, she goes with them, dreaming of a life of luxury and fine clothes on the Côte d'Azur. However, things don't turn out as she planned. Sembène’s “perfect short story,” wrote Manny Farber, “is unlike anything in the film library: translucent and no tricks, amazingly pure, but spiritualized.” A formative and eye-opening work, and one of Sembène’s finest.
The programme is coordinated by Aya Distribution with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from The National Lottery.