Ousmane Sembène

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Ousmane Sembène

#1 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:25 am

Ousmane Sembène (1923-2007)

Image


Filmography

L'Empire Sonhrai (1963; Documentary short)

Borom Sarret (1963; Short) - included on New Yorker R1 of Black Girl and M3M R2(France) disc of same film; included in Cinema 16: World Short Films collection released November 2008.
Dual-format release of Black Girl and Borom Sarret by BFI in UK on 19th October 2015
Separate Blu-ray and DVD edition of Black Girl and Borom Sarret by Criterion in January 2017

Niaye (1964; Short)

La Noire de... (Black Girl) (1966) - New Yorker R1 (DVD Beaver; DVD Verdict; DVD Talk; Slant); M3M R2(France)
Dual-format release of Black Girl and Borom Sarret by BFI in UK on 19th October 2015
Separate Blu-ray and DVD edition of Black Girl and Borom Sarret by Criterion in January 2017

Mandabi (The Money Order) (1968) - New Yorker R1 (DVD Beaver; DVD Verdict; DVD Talk; Slant); M3M R2(France)

Taumatisme de la Femme Face a la Polygame (Women and the Trauma of Polygamy) (1969; Documentary short)

Les Derives du Chomage (The Afflictions of Unemployment) (1969; Documentary short)

Taaw (1970; Short)

Emitai (Hementhal; God of Thunder) (1971) - M3M R2(France)

Basket Africain aux Jeux Olympiades de Munich (1972; Documentary short)

L'Afrique aux Olympiades (1973; Documentary short)

Xala (The Curse) (1974) - New Yorker R1 (DVD Beaver; DVD Verdict; DVD Talk; Slant); M3M R2(France)

Ceddo (Outsiders) (1976) - M3M R2(France)

Camp de Thiaroye (1987) - M3M R2(France); New Yorker R1 (DVD Town)

Guelwaar (1992) - M3M R2(France)

L'Heroisme au Quotidien (1999; Short)

Faat Kiné (2000) - M3M R2(France)

Moolaadé (2004) - Artificial Eye R2(UK) (DVD Beaver); M3M R2(France); New Yorker R1



Web page that provides a brief synopsis of each film, running time, language, film format and awards received.

Another page from the same site that lists novels written by Sembène

The French DVDs do not have English subtitles. There is a six disc set available, with Guelwaar, Faat Kiné and Moolaadé the only titles also available separately. (Clips from some of the films in Quicktime format are available on the site)


Web Resources

Films:

Ousmane Sembène: The life of a revolutionary artist by Samba Gadjigo - General overview


Film as a catalyst for social change: Borom Sarret by Andrea Dahlberg

Strictly Film School on Borom Sarret

Introduction to Black Girl by Rahul Hamid

La Noire de... by Lieve Spass

Mandabi: Character, context and Wolof language by Sada Niang

Xala: A Cinema of wax and gold by Teshome H. Gabriel

Three faces of Africa: Women in Xala by François Pfaff

Living with the legacy of Ousmane Sembène

Strictly Film School on Xala

Emitai and Ceddo: Women in Sembène's films by Gorham H.Kinem and Martha Steele

Shooting Down Pictures on Ceddo

Camp de Thiaroye by James Leahy

Faat Kiné by Samba Gadjigo

Strictly Film School on Faat Kiné

Strictly Film School on Moolaadé

Ebert and Roeper review of Moolaadé

Woman is the future of Man: Ousmane Sembène on Moolaadé

The African King by Richard Porton from Moving Image Source


Interviews:

1972 Interview with Sembene

Interview with Bonnie Greer at National Film Theatre in 2005

Ousmane Sembène: Reflections of Africa

Father of African film


General articles

The Elder of Elders by Baba Diop

Working Abroad: An interview with Med Hondo by Mark Reid translated by Sylvie Blum.


Obituaries

The Independent

Criterion forum

GreenCine Daily

Black Britain

The Guardian

Senegal: In Memory of Ousmane Sembène


Books:

A short reading list from the BFI (PDF file)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:18 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Via_Chicago
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:03 pm

#2 Post by Via_Chicago » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:38 pm

At a later date, I would really like to sit down and write a more comprehensive analysis of this great director's work. However, for now, I'll simply settle for the Tag Gallagher method:

**** masterpiece
*** must see
** see
* see if necessary
• don’t bother
- have not seen

- L'Empire Sonhrai
** Borom Sarret
- Niaye
**** La Noire De... (Black Girl)
** Mandabi (The Money Order)
- Taumatisme de la Femme Face a la Polygame (Women and the Trauma of Polygamy)
- Les Derives du Chomage (The Afflictions of Unemployment)
* Taaw
**** Emitai (Hementhal; God of Thunder)
- Basket Africain aux Jeux Olympiades de Munich
- L'Afrique aux Olympiades
*** Xala (The Curse)
*** Ceddo (Outsiders)
**** Camp de Thiaroye
*** Guelwaar
- L'Heroisme au Quotidien
*** Faat Kine
*** Moolaade

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#3 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:26 pm

A quick note to draw attention to recent updates. Borom Sarret (previously available as an extra on the New Yorker disc of Black Girl) is contained in the recently released Cinema 16: World Short Films collection on UK Region 2.

And New Yorker have released a disc of Camp de Thiaroye. According to the review posted above from DVD Town the disc quality is not spectacular (interlaced), though it does contain an interview with Danny Glover.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#4 Post by knives » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:45 pm

I just heard of this director, any recommendations on where to start (with what's available of course).

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Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#5 Post by Lemmy Caution » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:33 am

Look through Via Chicago's breakdown in his post above.

The obvious starting points would be either Black Girl or Moolade.
In many regards they couldn't be more different.
Black Girl (1966) was Sembene's first feature film, black and white, focusing on one character, an African woman who tries to adapt to Western society.
Moolade (2004) was his last film, very colorful, focusing on a whole African village dealing with traditional practices.
Black Girl has a rawness and low-budget feel, while Moolade is fairly polished and technically accomplished. Both of them are well worth seeing.

Personally I love seeing director's first films, and subsequent development, so I'd rec starting with Black Girl. But both films are very accessible, and good entry points, so you can judge which might appeal more to your taste. I probably should add that I've only seen two other Sembene films, but I think it's really a fairly clear choice. Additionally, those two films should be most readily available.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#6 Post by knives » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:37 am

Thanks a lot. Quality isn't always indicative of accessibility. I'll try to watch Black Girl, but that library's closed for basically a month. Moolade is much more immediately available though. Any sort of specific thoughts on him?

Numero Trois
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:23 am
Location: Florida

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#7 Post by Numero Trois » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:17 pm

Can't believe no one's mentioned the excellent Xala. I'd rate it much higher than Mr. Via_Chicago did. Currently OOP but it can be seen on Netflix instant watch, as can Black Girl and Mandabi.

Holy cow is it going for high prices! :shock:

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#8 Post by knives » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:14 pm

Since I first asked around I've been able to see three of his films (Mandbi, Xala, and Faat Kine) and holy cow am I impressed. for those of you who haven't seen his work yet it is a must. He seems to be part of a filmaker style born out of Satyajit Ray. Especially the two older films have a strong visual relation with him.
What's more important and interesting though is how he chronicles his community. It's almost impossible to believe the country of the Money Order turned into the country in Faat Kine. I don't think I could like any one of these films as much as I do without the others as a guide, though I found Xala to be the most enjoyable. It's so odd what came and what stayed as part of that culture. Anybody with even a little anthropological interest will fall in love.
As for the specifics on the films, I'm not sure what to say. There's a certain base quality throughout. Like I said my mind immediately went to Ray, and The Cow, with the lighting and definitely the editing of the climaxes being very similar. Sembene though isn't just a new face of an old name though, but it is primarily in the stories that he splits away. Everything about the characterizations, humour, and themes is a unique experience that really has to be enjoyed together. If these three films are any indication, than Sembene's entire filmography must work like a giant tome chronicling the history of a nation from it's birth until his death. I can only imagine the unified experience will make each chapter even stronger.

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Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#9 Post by Drucker » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:12 pm

Just watched Black Girl for the first time (also my first film by this director) and wanted to jot down some notes before I left for the weekend with the film still fresh in my mind.

At first, I wasn't too impressed with the film. I thought at first that while there was likely much accuracy in how she was treated (not only serving people, but those she is serving say by being away from Africa that she was "leaving nature", etc.) I still wasn't in love with the picture. Perhaps, I thought at first, it would have been more effective in its time, but seeing a black girl being treated this poorly by her mistress and the family was nothing earth-shattering.

About 2/3rds of the way through the film, however, the protagonist thinks back to a date with her boyfriend (?) right before she leaves for France (she'd already been the family's maid in her native Dakar). She's excited about the prospect of going to France, but not only is her boyfriend not excited at all, he seems hostile towards the idea. He also has a flag in the background that partially reads "independence" and "uhuru." He also yells at her for playing around on a memorial because of its sacredness. While she is excited about venturing out into France, it surely goes against community beliefs and standards, to fraternize with those who once (and still do) oppress!

Then the other symbolism became apparent. The mask on the wall is a decoration to the French, because it's African...much how they treated her. This isn't exactly a hard conclusion to reach, but it is incredibly well-done. I don't want to spoil the ending, but
SpoilerShow
she eventually rejects the family, and among other things, takes off her wig, only leaving her natural hair.
The New Yorker transfer really isn't great, and the soundtrack seems to drop out a few times. It almost sounds like sides of a record being flipped over (is this possible?) because the sounds get bassier, then the drop out occurs, and then it sounds again like the outside grooves of a record. Still, a very enjoyable picture and since it's a debut, I can't wait to see more.

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FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#10 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon May 12, 2014 6:45 am

I watched Moolaade over the weekend and what a fantastic film. This is my foray into Sembene's films and now I'm interested in taking in his oeuvre.

His characters are rich and the emotions are raw, especially as the traditions and long standing culture is being challenged and to some extent invaded. Semebene does a wonderful job building the tension leading up to the final confrontation without it becoming melodramatic.

Visually it is a beautiful film and it would look brilliant in 1080p. Here's hoping we can get a nice release of this film somewhere.

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thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: Ousmane Sembène

#11 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Thu May 15, 2014 6:07 am

FrauBlucher wrote:I watched Moolaade over the weekend and what a fantastic film. This is my foray into Sembene's films and now I'm interested in taking in his oeuvre.

His characters are rich and the emotions are raw, especially as the traditions and long standing culture is being challenged and to some extent invaded. Semebene does a wonderful job building the tension leading up to the final confrontation without it becoming melodramatic.

Visually it is a beautiful film and it would look brilliant in 1080p. Here's hoping we can get a nice release of this film somewhere.
I would definitely recommend Black Girl, Xala and Camp de Thiaroye if you can get hold of them. I didn't see Ceddo for the 70s project unfortunately.



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