Ousmane Sembene

Questions of Third Cinema, edited by Jim Pines and Paul Willemen

A collection of transcribed essays presented during the three-day conference organized by Jim Pines, Paul Willemen, and June Givanni as part of the 40th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1986, Questions of Third Cinema examines the evolution, application, relevance, and continued challenges of Third Cinema in its manifestation, not only from the… read more »

Moolaadé, 2004

An early establishing sequence in Moolaadé captures the intrinsic character of the unnamed rural village through its peculiar, indigenous architecture, as the camera lingers on the voluptuous image of the local mosque that has been fashioned in the tactile and simple organic forms of a traditional African mudhut and curiously topped with an ostrich egg…. read more »

Faat Kiné, 2000

In an early episode in the film, Kiné’s mother, affectionately called Mammy (Mame Ndoumbé) descends the staircase in slow, measured steps to greet her jubilant granddaughter, Aby (Mariama Balde), who has hurried home with the welcomed news that she has successfully passed her baccalaureate examinations and is now on her way to pursue her university… read more »

Camp de Thiaroye, 1987

A historical fiction based on the Thiaroye transit camp massacre in 1944, Ousmane Sembène and Thierno Faty Sow’s Camp de Thiaroye dismantles the myth of colonial assimilation to expose ingrained social and cultural mechanisms of racism, exploitation, and privilege. The disconnection is implied in the film’s opening image of West African colonial troops (Tirailleurs Sénégalais)… read more »

Xala, 1975

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… read more »

Borom Sarret, 1966

Borom Sarret opens to the stark emptiness of a black screen, evocatively filled by the sound of a solemn, mystical tribal chant incanted amid the asynchrony of a blunt, rhythmic beat. The darkness subsequently reveals a high contrast, daylight shot of the impoverished native quarters, cutting to a shot of the supplicant (Ly Abdoulaye) praying… read more »