Soleil O is a black and white film made over five years on a low budget of $125,000. It has been hailed by many as the most significant expatriate African film. It owes its title to an old song that the African slaves used to sing aboard ships on their way to the West Indies. Since slaves were the first Africans forced from their native land, Honda aptly selects this song to name his film, which is about the alienation of contemporary black Africans working in France. —jumpcut
Med Hondo (born Mohamed Abid Hondo, 1936) is a Mauritanian film director, producer, screenwriter, actor and voice actor. He emigrated to France in 1959 and began to work in film during the 1960s. He received critical acclaim for his 1967 directorial début Soleil O.
Hondo was born in 1936 in Ain Oul Beri Mathar in the Atar region of Mauritania. His mother was Mauritanian and his father Senegalese.In 1954 he went to live in Rabat, Morocco to train to become a chef at the International Hotel School there. He emigrated to France in 1959 and found work first in Marseilles and then in Paris, variously as a cook, farm labourer, waiter, dockworker and delivery man. He found that he, and other African immigrants, were unable to find jobs in their chosen professions, and in the menial jobs they could find, were paid less than the French. The difficulty of making a living during this time, as well as racism he experienced, eventually provided inspiration for his films, including Soleil… read more
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