Film Micrœview #18: La Noire de… (1966)

10.28.2013 § Leave a comment

I will be reading more about the context of this film soon. I don’t believe that Sembene would have rested the film on any Senegalese symbology that outsiders wouldn’t understand; in fact, I think to do so would be antithetical. Our protagonist feels possessed by her French boarders, rather than invited to share in their culture. We never see them forcibly restrain her from the life she desires there, but we do see that it doesn’t even cross their minds to welcome her or introduce them to friends. Douches… “she only knows the grocer” … yeah, who’s fault is that? Dealing with their comfy lives is apparently already to hard on them that they turn to drinking and sending their kids away, and still they project their accusations of laziness onto their caretaker tricked into being a maid. They’ve traveled to her country, ostensibly for some cultural exchange, but bringing her back to their country, they behave as if ashamed of her rather than friendly. She is as objectified as the decor they brought back with them (though much of that is displaced onto their guests). Anyway, but I would like to understand the context a bit more to see the extent to which it may be allegorical; I am interested in the final decision of the protagonist and how it might relate to larger scale events in French-Senegal colonial history. Overall I sense that Sembene meant to express some of his own feelings of his time in France, and expose his European audience to a humanizing perspective on African sensibility that they might not get otherwise.


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