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still from Borom Sarret
courtesy The Film Foundation

La Noire de . . . preceded by Borom Sarret

African Legacy: Francophone Films 1955 to 2019

  • Sunday, February 23, 2020
  • 4:00 p.m.
  • West Building Lecture Hall
  • In-person

Borom Sarret, made on a shoestring budget using a secondhand 16mm camera and donated stock, is a beautiful short story about a horse-drawn cart driver who refuses to charge his passengers for rides and, on the surface, seems to lack the skill necessary to run a business. (Ousmane Sembène, 1963, subtitles, 18 minutes)

Ousmane Sembène’s debut feature La Noire de . . . , the first work by an African filmmaker to be seen widely in the West, adapts Sembène’s own short story, a contemporary tale of a naïve young woman lured to France by a white couple who enslave her as their domestic. Poetically evoking the Nouvelle Vague in style, La Noire de . . . seems both real and illusory, “a seminal work, a revealing and richly metaphoric perspective on a never before-seen Africa. . . . Fifty years after its initial screenings, it remains a gorgeous, shocking, and an of-the-moment African story.”—Samba Gadjigo (Ousmane Sembène, 1966, subtitles, 80 minutes) Restored by Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata in association with the Sembène Estate, Institut national de l’audiovisuel, Éclair Laboratories, and the Centre National de la Cinématographie.