Ousmane Sembène, one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived and the most internationally renowned African director of the twentieth century, made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring BLACK GIRL (La noire de . . .). 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 couple and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a figurative and literal prison—into a complex, layered critique on the lingering colonialist mindset of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by Mbissine 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. Our feature will be preceded by a female-directed and Oscar-nominated short film of Black gang life in 1980s Los Angeles, all part of our tribute to Black History.
Guest speaker : Élie Castiel studied French literature, Film Studies and Translation at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and received training in library science. He is a chief editor at Kino Culture Montréal, and held the same position at Séquences magazine for several years. He holds a Masters Degree from Concordia. His Thesis is on the long-take in The Traveling Players, by Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos. He was for some time president of the AQCC (Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma), a member organization of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics). He has also sat on the juries of several local and international film festivals (Toronto, Montreal, Thessaloniki, Palm Springs, Festival du film israélien de Montréal…) Most significantly, he once interviewed the director of BLACK GIRL and will share his experience with us.