Retrospective - The Birth of The Cinema In Africa


the black woman from...
by Ousmane Sembène
Country: Senegal
Year: 1966
Duration: 65'

Diouana is looking for work. At the market in Dakar the women put themselves on display like slaves and the Europeans choose their maids. A French couple employs her and they take her with them to Europe. When they arrive in France, Diouana finds herself in a state of complete isolation. Her employers treat her very severely, forcing her to do all the household chores, whilst in Dakar Diouana only looked after the children. The rebukes of the mistress and the racist attitude of the couple's friends deeply disturb Diouana. Her only bond with her country is a wooden mask. Alone and having lost all her dignity, Diouana takes her own life. The film is based on the short story of the same title by Sembène Ousmane in the volume Voltaique. "Mask no longer has the mythical value that our ancestors gave it. Today, it's symbol of African identity and unity" (S. Ousmane).


film director

Ousmane Sembène


& Credits

Director and screenplay: Ousmane Sembène.
Director of photography: Christian Lacoste.
Editor: André Gaudier.
Cast and characters: Thérèse M'Bissine Diop (Diouana), Robert Fontaine (il padrone), Anne Marie Jelinek (la padrona), Nar Sène (l'amico).
Production company: Les Films Domirev (Sénégal), Les Actualites Françaises, Ministère de la Coopération Français.