Sarah Maldoror

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Sarah Maldoror
Sarah Durados

Gers, France
OccupationFilm director, writer

Sarah Maldoror (born 1938) is a French filmmaker of African descent.

Early life and Education[edit]

Born Sarah Durados in 1938 in Gers, the daughter of immigrants from Guadaloupe, she chose her artist's name in remembrance of Les Chants de Maldoror by Lautréamont.

She attended a drama school in Paris. Together with her husband, Angolan nationalist Mário Pinto de Andrade, she received a scholarship and studied film with Mark Donskoi in Moscow in 1961-62 where she met Ousmane Sembène.[1] She is best known for her feature film Sambizanga (1972) on the 1961-1974 war in Angola.[2]


After her studies, Sarah Maldoror, worked as an assistant on Gillo Pontecorvo's acclaimed film, The Battle of Algiers (1966).[3] She also worked as an assistant to Algerian director Ahmed Lallem.

Maldoror's short film, Monangambee (1968), was set in Angola, based on a story by Angolan writer José Luandino Vieira. This 17-minute-long film's title, Monangambée, refers to the call used by Angolan anti-colonial activists to signal a village meeting. The film was shot with amateur actors in Algeria. It tells the story of a poor woman who visits her husband, who is imprisoned in the city of Luanda.[4] The film was selected for the Director's Fortnight at Cannes in 1971, representing Angola.[5][not in citation given]

Her first feature film, Sambizanga, was also based on a story by Vieira.

Maldoror is one of the first women to direct a feature film in Africa; therefore, her work is often included in studies of the role of African women in African cinema.



  • Monangambé, 1968
  • Des fusils pour Banta (Guns for Banta), 1970
  • Carnaval en Guinée-Bissau (Carnival in Guinea-Bissau), 1971
  • Sambizanga, 1972
  • Un carneval dans le Sahel (Carnival in Sahel), 1977
  • Folgo, Ile de Feu
  • Et les chiens se taisaient (And the dogs kept silent)
  • Un homme, une terre (A man, a country)
  • La Basilique de Saint-Denis
  • Un dessert pour Constance, 1983
  • Le cimetière du Père Lachaise
  • Miro
  • Lauren
  • Robert Lapoujade, peintre
  • Toto Bissainthe, Chanteuse
  • René Depestre, poète
  • L'hôpital de Leningrad, 1983
  • La littérature tunisienne de la Bibliothèque nationale
  • Un sénégalias en Normandie
  • Robert Doisneau, photographe
  • Le racisme au quotidien (Daily life racism), 1983
  • Le passager du Tassili (The Tassili passenger), 1987
  • Aimé Césaire, le masque des mots (Aimé Césaire, word as masks), 1986
  • Emmanuel Ungaro, couturier
  • Louis Aragon - Un masque à Paris
  • Vlady, peintre
  • Léon G. Damas, 1995
  • L'enfant-cinéma, 1997
  • La tribu du bois de l'é (In the time of people)

Documentary about Sarah Maldoror[edit]

  • Sarah Maldoror ou la nostalgie de l’utopie by Anne Laure Folly, France /Togo, 1998.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sarah Maldoror, Guadeloupe, France", translation of interview at 15th edition of FESPACO, February 1997, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; originally published in Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film Video and Television, Africa World Press, Trenton, NJ, 2000.
  2. ^ "Angola: Brutality Betrayal". Village Voice. 6 December 1973. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  3. ^ Sayre, Nora (November 22, 1973). "Movie Review - Sambizanga (1973)". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  4. ^ Dembrow, Michael. "Sambizanga and Sarah Maldoror". Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Sambizanga Review". MUBI. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Remise de l'ordre national du mérite à Sarah Maldoror par Frédéric Mitterand". Retrieved 22 August 2012.

External links[edit]