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