Samba Félix NDiaye was born on the 6th of March 1945 in Dakar. As an adolescent he developed a passion for cinema and ran his school’s Film Club. He studied law and economy at the University of Dakar, but his passion for cinema remained steadfast. He then went on to study film theory at the University of Paris VIII while attending more practical courses at the Louis Lumière School. Concurrent to his film studies, he took courses in ethno-psychiatry at the École des hautes études and also directed his first short film, Pérantal, in 1974. This marked the first leg of the career of a filmmaker who has been shaped by reality and the depictering of a world to which he then dedicates his cinematographic know-how. Read More »
The merger between cinematic language and traditional African narrative forms is taken even further in Jom, the Story of a People (Senegal 1982) by Ababacar Samb Makharam. The film presents an epic overview of the history of Senegal within the structure of a tale told by a griot. Griots are the itinerant poets and musicians of Senegal who has the responsibility of recounting and maintaining the history of a tribe or people and, because of their duty in preserving the memories of their people, the griots hold an especially important place within the West African cultural community. The role of the griot was, perhaps, best stated by Sembene: “His work reflects and synthesizes the problems, the struggles, and the hopes of his people,” In Jom, the Story of a People, Makharam’s creates the film equivalent of a griot’s tale with all of its musical and moral strengths intact. Read More »
Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène’s Borom Sarret tells the story of a poor man trying to make a living as a cart driver in Dakar.
Borom Sarret or The Wagoner (French: Le Charretier) is a 1963 film by Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène, the first film over which he had full control.
It is often considered the first film ever made in Africa by a black African. It is 18 minutes long and tells a story about a cart driver in Dakar. The film illustrates the poverty in Africa, showing that independence has not solved the problems of its people.
It was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. [Wikipedia] Read More »
“It’s possible that a good half of the greatest African movies ever made are the work of novelist-turned-filmmaker Ousmane Sembene (Black Girl, Xala, Ceddo). Camp Thiaroye (1988), cowritten and codirected by Thierno Faty Sow, recounts an incident that occurred in 1944. Returning from four years of European combat in the French army, Senegalese troops are sent to a transit camp, where they have to contend with substandard food and other indignities. An intellectual sergeant major (Ibrahima Sane) gets thrown out of a local bordello when he goes there for a drink; mistaken for an American soldier, he’s arrested and beaten by American MPs, which provokes his men into kidnapping an American GI. Then when the Senegalese troops discover that they’re about to be cheated out of half their back pay, they launch a revolt. Read More »
Soriba Samb (Oumar Diop Makena) is a Senegalese who has just received a much sought after internship to study filmmaking in Paris. In this story, Soriba heads to Paris, accompanied by the five-year old son of a friend who he believes to be still living in Paris. On arrival he struggles to find the boy’s father. In addition to coping with his new internship, Soriba has to also spend time tracking down the boy’s father ‘Issa’. Soriba eventually finds ‘Issa’ but only to discover that he is running a prostitution ring and actually has no intention of leaving Paris. This is deeply disturbing to Soriba as the fate of the young boy now hangs squarely in the balance. Soriba sets out to change this and invokes the spirits of his ancestors to transform ‘Issa’s’ wayward living so he can care for his son and return to Senegal.
1991: Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film: Golden Bayart for Best Actor Read More »
La Petite Vendeuse du Soleil (the Girl who sold the Sun) follows the life of a young girl who moves from her village to Dakar – having permanently lost the use of one of her legs, the only job she can do, is beg on the streets. One day however she sees boys selling Le Soleil, a national newspaper. Although no girls do that job, she manages to convince those in charge to give her a try… But can she survive in a cut-throat world where only aggression pays off? Offering a loving vision of modern day Dakar, Diop-Mambety takes us through all of the highs and lows of the sprawling city. His gentle, tender touch is evident but the tone doesn’t become sickly sweet with the film ending as realistically as it honestly could. Read More »
A successful, middle-aged businessman named El Hadj Abdoukader Beye (Thierno Leye) has reached the pinnacle of the economic elite by participating in a native revolt against colonialist authorities and, along with his colleagues, seized control of the chamber of commerce. Despite the newly convened commerce board’s altruistic declarations for establishing compassionate socialism, rampant corruption and abuse of power become immediately apparent as the board members are individual handed money-laden briefcases by an inscrutable and reticent Western businessman. Beye uses the jovial atmosphere to remind the board that his marriage ceremony to his third, and significantly younger co-wife, Ngone (Dieynaba Niang), is already in progress (ironically, despite his absence) and extends an invitation for the afternoon wedding reception at his recently purchased third home. Read More »