Premiered in competition at Venice, Black Venus tells the true story of Sarah Baartman, an African slave exhibited as a freak show attraction in 19th century London and Paris. Persuaded by promises of certain wealth, Sarah (Yahima Torres) instead faces constant humiliation and degradation. When slavery is outlawed in England, Sarah is passed on to a couple from Paris, where her objectification and abuse becomes even greater.
While at times difficult and uncomfortable to watch, forcing the audience to become fellow voyeurs of Sarah’s exploitation, it’s a remarkable film whose examination of the period’s racism, sexism and greed remains relevant. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)
This film is screening as part of the Abdellatif Kechiche Programme which continues during the Carte Noire IFI French Film Festival (November 20th – December 1st 2013). The programme coincides with the release of Abdellatif Kechiche’s latest work and fifth film, Blue is the Warmest Colour.
The full season features all of Abdellatif Kechiche’s previous films: Blame it on Voltaire (2000); Games of Love and Chance (2003); and Couscous (2007).