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BLACK VENUS

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

159 minutes • France • 2010


First shown in competition at Venice, Black Venus tells the true story of Sarah Baartman, an African slave exhibited as a freak show attraction in nineteenth century London and Paris. Persuaded to travel by lies of how she will be a well-paid artist, Sarah (Yahima Torres, in an astonishing debut) instead faces constant humiliation and degradation. As slavery has recently been outlawed in England, Sarah is passed on to a couple from Paris, where her objectification and abuse becomes even greater. Sarah maintains her dignity throughout, putting to shame those who use her so appallingly. 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 distressingly relevant.<

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