A Senegalese woman is eager to find a better life abroad. She takes a job as a governess for a French family, but finds her duties reduced to those of a maid after the family moves from Dakar to the south of France. In her new country, the woman is constantly made aware of her race and mistreated by her employers. Her hope for better times turns to disillusionment and she falls into isolation and despair. The harsh treatment leads her to consider suicide the only way out. –IMDb
Ousmane Sembène (January 1, 1923 — June 9, 2007), often credited in the French style as Sembène Ousmane in articles and reference works, was a Senegalese film director, producer and writer. The Los Angeles Times considered him one of the greatest authors of Africa and has often been called the “Father of African film.”
The son of a fisherman, Ousmane Sembène was born in Ziguinchor in Casamance to a Muslim Wolof family. He went to an Islamic school (common for many boys in Senegal) and to the French school, learning French and basic Arabic in addition to his mother tongue, Wolof. He had to leave his French school in 1936 when he clashed with the principal. After an unsuccessful stint working with his father (Sembène was prone to sea-sickness), he left for Dakar in 1938, where he worked a variety of manual labour jobs.
In 1944, Sembène was drafted into the Senegalese Tirailleurs (a corps of the French Army) in World War II and later fought for the Free French Forces. After… read more
Essential cinema. Sembene's debut feature has lost none of its power in its examination of a young Sengalese woman brought to France to be employed as a domestic by a young couple. Her internal monologue throughout is fascinating and the deep meaning and layers to that examination and to something as simple as a mask is masterful. Diop is so expressive but its the filmmaker's choices that make this a masterpiece.