Master-director Ousmane Sembène first illuminated international screens in 1966 and the results have only grown more powerful and relevant with time. With Black Girl
, his first feature film, Sembène exhibits all the power, beauty, and signature style of an already-formed auteur. The story centers on Diouana, a vivacious young Senegalese woman with high hopes for the future who leaves home for employment and adventure but quickly finds herself captive in a strange and sterile environment called France. Working as a domestic servant for a French bourgeois married couple, Diouana’s silent acquiescence to the day-to-day drudgery of housecleaning and childcare is sharply contrasted by her resistant inner voice—
the voice of a woman and, metaphorically, an entire culture that will not submit to subordination or indignity. Deceptively simple in its beautifully spare, minimalist style but subtly nuanced and devastatingly powerful in its impact, Sembène’s film is essential viewing for every cinephile.
Restored in 2015 by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Sembène Estate, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, INA, Eclair laboratories and Centre National de Cinématographie. Restoration carried out at Cineteca di Bologna/ L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory.
Co-presented by Museum of the African Diaspora