Father of African Cinema

March 20, 2012

Inevitably when quizzed about  African cinema the conversation usually will end up to the question of ‘well how old is African cinema?’. For the most part African cinema is synonymous with Nollywood which became a force to be reckoned with in the 1980s.

However the first internationally recognized African film is La Noire de or Black girl by Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene now considered the Father of African Cinema. Sembene, born in 1923 to a fisherman spent the early part of his life as a poet, short story writer and novelist. Sembene only turned to film out of frustration due to a number of citizens not being able to read his stories because of illiteracy.

Throughout his life, Sembène produced five collection of short stories, five novels, directed  nine features and four documentaries. He lived his life positive that through film and creative expressions, Africans will be able to free themselves of the shackle of colonialism and and negative stereotypes perpetuated through art.

La Noire de released in 1966 follows a young Senegalese woman who moves to Europe to work as a maid for a rich family only to be confronted by the realities of being black in France.



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