One of the 20th century’s most inspired storytellers, Ousmane Sembène’s (Moolaade
, MVFF 2004) own life story is itself extraordinary. A fifth-grade dropout from Senegal, as a young man he went to Marseille where working as a dockworker politicized and inspired him. Returning home, his dream of becoming the storyteller for a new Africa led him first to novels, then to film—
despite the complete lack of infrastructure to support filmmaking. Known as the father of African film, his debut feature Black Girl
(MVFF 2015) remains a classic of 20th-century cinema. Longtime biographer and colleague Samba Gadjido collaborates with filmmaker Jason Silverman to tell Sembène’s story: It’s a portrait of a hero, a man of fearless vision who spoke up for the marginalized, and who laid the foundation for a vibrant cinema culture in West Africa. Through archival footage and a wealth of interviews—
some surprisingly candid—Sembène!
is rich and moving, a compelling tribute to his genius.With support from:
Co-presented by Museum of the African Diaspora