Black Girl is Ousmane Sembene’s directorial debut and widely considered to be the first sub-Saharan African film made by an African filmmaker. I’ve been watching all kinds of foreign films, but this might be the most important one I have ever seen. It deals with major social issues that are somehow still relevant today. It’s scary how a French/Senegalese film can represent what is so wrong with how people operate in every culture.
We are introduced to a young woman named Diouana, who is from Senegal and constantly looking for work as a maid. One day, a white French woman picks her out of a group of women to help out with her kids. Diouana works for the family in Senegal, but they invite her to live in Paris with them. She gathers her things and moves out in hopes of a better life in Paris, but the family isn’t quite what they sold themselves to be.
Mbissine Thérèse Diop’s performance as Diouana is a revelation and the symbolism within this film is so impressive. I can’t wait to check out some more African films and I definitely have a new director on my radar in Ousmane Sembene. Black Girl is one of those old films that is just a must. We as people have a duty to take care of one another and we have lost sight of that since the beginning of time. Black Girl is not an easy watch but it had to be made. Stories like this have been told time and time again, but this was in the middle of the 60's and it actually goes there.