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Ousmane Sembène - Interviews

Ousmane Sembène


Edited by Annett Busch & Max Annas
Paperback : 9781934110867, 204 pages, July 2008

Collected interviews with the African filmmaker who directed Black Girl, Mandabi, Xala, Ceddo, Faat Kine, and Moolaade


Even by the time Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (1923-2007) was forty, he had lived an exceptional life. He joined the French army during World War II and moved from Senegal to France in 1948. There he worked for automaker Citroën, as well as on the docks of Marseille. Exposed to Marxism, he participated in railroad strikes and trade union movements. His early novels and short story collections gained him literary recognition both in Senegal and throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

In his fortieth year, Sembène directed the short film Borom Sarret, one of the first films directed by a black African and a movie that brought African cinema to the consciousness of the West. Sembène's subsequent films--including Black Girl, Mandabi, Xala, Ceddo, Faat Kiné, and Moolaadé--address contemporary African society and cultural issues with the filmmaker's characteristic wit and subtle satire. Known for urban themes and complex female protagonists, Sembène's movies, both in French and in his native language Wolof, are considered pioneering masterworks of African cinema.

Ousmane Sembène: Interviews collects conversations from the mid-1960s to 2005, and spans the breadth of his filmmaking career while also touching on his literary work and his role as a public intellectual. Many of these interviews appear here in English for the first time and come from French, German, African diaspora, and Senegalese periodicals.

Annett Busch is a writer based in Munich, Germany. Her work has appeared in Spex, CameraAustria, and Kolik. Max Annas of Cologne, Germany, is an author whose work has appeared in Filmdienst and Ecrans d'Afrique, as well as in several books.