Senegalese filmmaker Ababacar Samb says, “Jom is a Wolof word which has no equivalent in English or French. Jom means courage, dignity, respect … It is the origin of all virtues.” A griot travels exuberantly through time and Senegal’s collective memory to capture situations linked only by their common concern with the concepts of honour and dignity, the importance of keeping one’s word and not being bought or corrupted. To celebrate the concept, Samb uses the griot as the nexus of multiple stories contained in Senegal’s collective memory.
To inspire striking workers, the griot tells of a legendary prince, Dieri Dior Ndella, who sacrificed his life during colonialism, and Koura Thiaw, an entertainer who took up the cause of oppressed domestics in the 1940s, both becoming heroes to their people. Though this strangely lyrical film deals with a contemporary crisis, critic Roy Armes notes that “the film travels exuberantly through time to capture situations linked only by their common concern with the concepts of honor and dignity, the importance of keeping one’s word and not being bought or corrupted.” —africanfilmlibrary.com
Born October 21, 1934 in Dakar, he entered the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts of Paris in 1955 and founded a theater company, Les Griots. He also performed a few small roles, then in 1958 he went to Italy at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, the great Roman school of cinema.
He returned to Senegal in 1964 and worked in the worlds of radio and television.
While pursuing his career as a director, he got involved in the promotion and defense of African cinemas and was the Secretary General of Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) from 1972 to 1976.
He created his own production company Baobab Movies (Dakar).
He died October 7, 1987. —africulture