The first film by Senegalese master Ousmane Sembène and the first feature produced in sub-Saharan Africa, Black Girl is the story of Diouana, an illiterate nursemaid from Dakar who follows her French employers to the Côte d’Azur with dreams of discovering France. Despite its short running time, Black Girl is an extraordinarily dense film, packed with unexpected narrative turns and human and political insight.
The screening also includes Sembène's Borom Sarret, which tells the story of a poor man trying to make a living as a cart driver in Dakar.
Shortly after World War I, in a provincial German town conspicuously devoid of its young men, Anna discovers a stranger at the grave of her late fiancé Frantz, one of the thousands of young Germans killed in the war. The stranger soon introduces himself to Anna and Frantz’s parents as Adrien, a French friend of the dead soldier.
Writer-director Philippe Faucon’s long-running project of making films about those members of the French population traditionally left off-screen reaches a state of grace in Fatima, perfectly balancing sharp observation of the harsh realities of the immigrant experience with an inspiring story of individual resilience. Fatima is a middle-aged, divorced Algerian woman living in a French suburb, cleaning houses and offices from dawn to dusk to provide her spirited teenage daughters with a better future.