about the director

Ousmane Sembène

Ousmane Sembene pictureBiography: Ousmane Sembène was born in 1923 in southern Senegal but chose not to follow in his father’s profession as a fisherman. Sembène became a mechanic, a mason, joined the French Army in 1942, and then became an active militant in the labor movement. In 1948, he left for France, where he worked as a longshoreman and helped to organize the African dock workers in Marseille. He published his first novel in 1956, Le Docker Noir, based on these experiences. Realizing that much of his target audience was illiterate, he decided to become a filmmaker and went to study in Moscow. Upon his return to Africa, Sembène began a long and illustrious career as a filmmaker. In fact, he is often called the “Father of African Cinema,” a title befitting the first African to make a fiction film distributed outside Africa, Borom Sarret (1963). His novels and films examine the many faces of a continent emerging from the colonial era, at grips with the tensions of independence and modernity. His work is an impassioned history of Africa’s political and social transformation throughout the 20th century. Ousmane Sembène passed away in 2007 in Dakar, Senegal.

(Sources:
- Through African Eyes – Dialogues with the Directors, BONETTI Mahen and REDDY Prerana (Editors), 2003, African Film Festival, Inc. and Printinfo JV LLC, Yerevan, Armenia, p. 6
- http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0783733/bio)

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Borom Sarret (1963);
Black Girl [La Noire de…] (1966);
Mandabi [The Money Order] (1968);
Taaw (1970);
Emitaï (1971);
Xala [The Curse] (1974);
Ceddo (1977);
Camp de Thiaroye (1988);
Guelwaar (1992);
Faat Kiné (2000);
Moolaadé (2004).

Filmography:
Borom Sarret (1963);
The Songhay Empire [L’Empire Songhaï] (1963);
Niaye (1964);
Black Girl [La Noire de…] (1966);
Mandabi [The Money Order] (1968);
Polygamie [Traumatisme de la femme face à la polygamie] (1969);
Employment Problem [Problème de l’emploi/Les Dérives du chômage] (1969);
Taaw (1970);
Emitaï (1971);
Olympic Games in Munich [Jeux Olympiques de Munich/L’Afrique aux Olympiades, Basket africain aux J.O. de Munich, RFA] (1971);
Xala [The Curse] (1974);
Ceddo (1977);
Camp de Thiaroye (1988);
Guelwaar (1992);
Faat Kiné (2000);
Moolaadé (2004).

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