Ousmane Sembène, Black Girl (still), 1966; image: courtesy Janus Films


Black Girl with Borom Sarret

Part of Modern Cinema: Criterion Collection and Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein.

Series Media Sponsor  
7x7 horizontal logo

Series Supporting Media Sponsors

East Bay Express logo
Up Out logo

Sembène transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white couple and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a figurative and literal prison—into a complex, layered critique on the lingering colonialist mindset of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.

Black Girl screens with Borom Sarret, a powerful indictment of neocolonialism which follows a day in the life of a poor horse-cart driver, as we see him being manipulated and swindled by a series of customers.

“Black Girl was the first feature made in Senegal, and the first feature about black Africans to have been written and directed by a black African. No other national or cultural cinema started as confidently… The result is a film that’s blatantly political, but never grandstanding, and significantly better at demonstrating the link between social forces and the emotions of everyday life than most of its high-minded European contemporaries.” —Ignatiy Vishnevesky, The A.V. Club

Film Details

Black Girl

Language: French, English subtitles

Year: 1966

Running time: 85 min

Director: Ousmane Sembène

Borom Sarret
Language: French, English subtitles
Year: 1963
Running time: 20 min
Director: Ousmane Sembène

Films and schedules may be subject to change.

More Modern Cinema: Criterion Collection and Apichatpong Weerasethakul Events

See All