Black Girl (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the 1966 film. For the 1972 film, see Black Girl (1972 film).
Black Girl
DVD Cover
Directed by Ousmane Sembène
Produced by André Zwoboda
Written by Ousmane Sembène
Starring Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek and Robert Fontaine
Cinematography Christian Lacoste
Edited by André Gaudier
Distributed by New Yorker Video
Release dates
  • 1966 (1966)
Running time
65 minutes
Country France
Language French

Black Girl is a 1966 film by the Senegalese writer and director Ousmane Sembène, starring Mbissine Thérèse Diop. Its original French title is La Noire de..., which means "The black girl of...", as in "someone's black girl". The film centers on a young Senegalese woman who moves from Senegal to France to work for a rich French couple. It was the director's first feature-length film.[1] It is often considered the first Sub-Saharan African film by an African filmmaker to receive international attention.[2]


Diouana, a young Senegalese woman, moves from Dakar, Senegal to Antibes, France to work for a rich French couple. In France, Diouana hopes to continue her former nanny job and anticipates a cosmopolitan lifestyle. But from her arrival in Antibes, Diouana experiences harsh treatment from the couple, who force her to work as a full servant. She becomes increasingly aware of her constrained and alienated situation and starts to question her life in France.


  • Mbissine Thérèse Diop as Diouana
  • Anne-Marie Jelinek as Madame
  • Robert Fontaine as Monsieur
  • Momar Nar Sene as Diouana's Boyfriend


This film addresses the effects of colonialism, racism and post-colonial identity in Africa and Europe. These themes are highlighted through the recurring appearance of the African mask Diouana gives to her employers on her first day of work at the house. The mask is hung on the wall in the French couple's Senegalese apartment, along with other pieces of African art.[citation needed]


In his 1997 book Movies as Politics, Jonathan Rosenbaum makes a case for Black Girl as the symbolic genesis of sub-Saharan African filmmaking, at least to the extent that the authorship belonged to a born and bred African.[3]



  1. ^ Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (1996). The Oxford History of World Cinema. ISBN 0-19-874242-8. 
  2. ^ Weiler, A. H. "2 From Senegal:Feature and Short Are at the New Yorker" New York Times, 13 January 1969[1]
  3. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (1997). Movies as Politics. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press. p. 284. ISBN 0-520-20615-0. 

External links[edit]