Black Girl

French-Senegalese cult film “Black Girl” (1966) directed by the legendary Ousmane Sembene and starring Mbissine Therese Diop among others.

Diouana (Mbissine Therese Diop) is a young Senegalese girl looking for work to buttress their family income. She roams all over Dakar looking for work, knocking on people’s doors. In one such outing she meets a guy who tells her to sit on a corner where maids all sit looking for work.

A French madame Anne-Marie Jelinek comes along looking for a maid, Diouana is the only one who does not rush to her. Madame picks her to look after her three kids. After some time, the French couple move back to France and ask Diouana to come to France to work for her.

Excited Diouana plans for herself to visit places, see things in France to Cannes, Nice etc. But in France, Diouana is cloistered in her room asked to do the laundry, cooking, washing, dishes, sweeping etc. In short she has become a full time maid. And the children are nowhere to be seen.

Conflicts arise between Madame and Diouana and Diouana sees herself as a slave in their house, not allowed to go out, not allowed to wear good clothes or slippers. Sembene has delivered an absolute cult classic, slowly taking the movie forward to a tragic end.

The vestiges of colonialism of Senegal by France comes to the fore in the movie, and its like a statement on all colonialism by the white powers over the entire African continent, be it the British over East Africa, French over West Africa, Belgium in Central Africa, Portual in South West Africa. Africa and Africans is subtly portrayed as slaves by the white people to do what they want. Its as if the black people do not have their own emotions, their ambitions, their thoughts and their goals and aspirations.

Its a brilliant movie made in black and white with outstanding camera work and cinematography. The Senegalese music played in the background is mesmerising. IMDB 9/10

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