If one film kicked off the art of black African film, it was this one. A black girl goes to the south of France, to be housekeeper for a white family. She brings an African mask as a present. She’s entranced by the white family’s mod cons, such as a sprinkler to water the lawn. Slowly she becomes disillusioned, alienated, as if she’s wearing a mask, like the women in Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Pioneering director Ousmane Sembène’s film is a social critique and a work of feminism, but also an indication of how powerful symbolism and imagery would become in African film in the coming decades.
Screening as part of Stories From Africa (October6th – 22nd).