Ousmane Sembène / Senegal / 1966 / 65 mins / French with English subtitles / Narrative
One of the founding works of African cinema; Senegalese director Sembène’s first feature is a strikingly complex exploration of racial and cultural prejudice that combines the social-realist project of neo-realism with the spare but freewheeling aesthetics of the nouvelle vague. Based on a real event, this pioneering postcolonial film follows a young Senegalese woman who moves from Dakar to the Riviera, first as nanny and then maid to a French family.
Ousmane Sembène / Senegal / 1963 / 22 mins / French with English subtitles / Narrative
This tale of an impoverished cart driver in Dakar is widely considered to be the first film made by a black African in Africa.
Both films have been restored by The Film Foundation World Cinema Project, courtesy of Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna.
Petit à Petit
Jean Rouch / France / 1970 / 96 mins / French with English subtitles / Narrative
Rouch’s “sequel” to the celebrated Jaguar is in many ways a more profound, playful and ambitious work of “ethno-fiction”. Several young men from the city of Niamey in Niger visit Paris to undertake an ethnographic study of high-rise buildings and the uses Parisians make of them. Made in the wake of May ’68, Rouch’s bracing combination of improvised fiction and observational documentary is a key work of postcolonial cinema and a profound instance of “reverse” ethnography. Parisians are held up as objects of study, reworking many of the devices—observations on style and manners, callipers to measure anatomy—familiar from colonialism.
SPREAD THE WORD
Melbourne Cinémathèque is committed to screening significant films from the complete history of cinema. In the 4th year of this collaboration, these retrospective pieces will examine postcolonialism through French New Wave and African heritage cinema.