Ousmane Sembène was one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl. Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by M’Bissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.
Black Girl was restored by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with the Sembène Estate; INA, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel; Éclair; and the Centre National de Cinématographie. Restoration funded by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.
Borom sarret was restored in 2013 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and Éclair, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project; INA, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel; and the Sembène Estate. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.
- New 4K digital restoration, undertaken by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- 4K restoration of the short film Borom sarret, director Ousmane Sembène’s acclaimed 1963 debut
- New interviews with scholars Manthia Diawara and Samba Gadjigo
- Excerpt from a 1966 broadcast of JT de 20h, featuring Sembène accepting the Prix Jean Vigo for Black Girl
- New interview with actor M’Bissine Thérèse Diop
- Sembène: The Making of African Cinema, a 1994 documentary about the filmmaker by Diawara and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
- Alternate color sequence
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by critic Ashley Clark
New cover by Eric Skillman