Preceded by Ousmane Sembene’s first film, the short Borom Sarret (1963, 20 minutes)

There’s a very contemporary feel to this early classic of post-colonial African cinema, presented in a new digital restoration on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The story follows Diouana (a riveting performance by Mbissine Thérèse Diop), a young woman who moves from Dakar to Antibes to work for the wealthy French couple who had employed her as a nanny in pre-independence Senegal. Diouana anticipates an exciting new life in France, but her hopes are dashed by her employers’ harsh treatment, driving her to despair. Made on a modest budget, the film is stylistically linked to Neorealism.

“The unsynchronized dialogue … gives the action a dreamlike quality and infuses an objectively grim, realistic story with poetry and longing.” —New York Times

10 Things to Learn from Black Girl.

Read an appreciation of the film in Vogue.

See the Criterion Collection's notes on the film.

Read about the restoration of the film here.

View the new documentary Sembene! on DVD in the Museum's Hirsch Library.

Watch on YouTube

Ousmane Sembene
in French and Wolof with English subtitles
Running Time
85 minutes
Digital, B/W