La noire de... (1966)
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- Black Girl
- 65 min.
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A film more about colonialism than racism, of course the last frequently comes with the first.
The black girl first wants an employment as a cleaner in Dakar, at the beginning she doesn't find employment but an acquaintance, a young man. She gets a job by a French family, where she only needs to take care of the family's children. She gets also clothes from the mother of the children, after being invited to come to France, she feels that she is something better. She dreams to visit the Cote d'Azur but in fact her situations worsens after the arrival in France, she is now a cleaner and has no time to go out, she is lonely knowing no one. She is surprised to discover that life in France is also not better than in her country for the people there.
In a flashback she remember how annoyed was her boyfriend in going to France, now she understand him (a man that is sensible to the history of Africa) ultimately too late.
A letter from her mother hurts her deeply, specially because she cannot write the response herself. She decides never to obey orders from another person.
Not being able to tell her mother the truth of her life in France, makes for her futile that she articulate her feelings to the family. The man even gives to her money. There is no way back possible.....
A light positive hope is given at the end of the film, the boy with the mask, clearly a symbol of the own values of African culture and history.
An interesting look at the colonial experience from a different point of view than Europeans, American, and other Westerners are used to. Also, a different take from the more usual 'revolutionary' tales. Not as polished as we might hope, but still tells the story quite well. Definitely a 'thumbs up'!
Recommended reading: http://sensesofcinema.com/2002/cteq/black_girl/
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In 7 official lists
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This movie ranks #24 in Guide to African Cinema
This movie ranks #174 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Narrative Films (2012)
This movie ranks #278 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #334 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #535 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
This movie ranks #769 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #997 in The Criterion Collection