Ousmane Sembene’s vicious circle: the politics and aesthetics of ‘La Noire de ‘

Ousmane Sembene’s ‘La Noire de ‘ (1966), widely considered black Africa’s first independent feature film, is about a woman’s recognition of the duplicitous nature of neocolonial subjectivity, a duplicity that Sembene himself recognized during the production of the film. Historically, French cinematographic institutions, implanted in Senegal in order to facilitate African filmmaking, operated within a circular logic that required Sembene to be both French and Senegalese. Aesthetically, Sembene impugns this circular logic through his ironic use of focalization, montage and mise-en-scne, offering a critique not only of French neocolonialism, but also of assimilationist policies of the early Senegalese government. In ‘La Noire de ‘ Sembene develops a spatiotemporal aesthetics of neocolonialism that acts as the primary structural principle of the film and reveals the contradictory existence of the neocolonial subject. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]

Title: Ousmane Sembene’s vicious circle: the politics and aesthetics of ‘La Noire de ‘
Author: Malcic, Steven
Year: 2013
Periodical: Journal of African Cinemas (ISSN 1754-923X)
Volume: 5
Issue: 2
Pages: 167-180
Language: English
Geographic term: Senegal
About person: Sembne Ousmane (1923-2007)
External link: https://doi.org/10.1386/jac.5.2.167_1
Abstract: Ousmane Sembene’s ‘La Noire de ‘ (1966), widely considered black Africa’s first independent feature film, is about a woman’s recognition of the duplicitous nature of neocolonial subjectivity, a duplicity that Sembene himself recognized during the production of the film. Historically, French cinematographic institutions, implanted in Senegal in order to facilitate African filmmaking, operated within a circular logic that required Sembene to be both French and Senegalese. Aesthetically, Sembene impugns this circular logic through his ironic use of focalization, montage and mise-en-scne, offering a critique not only of French neocolonialism, but also of assimilationist policies of the early Senegalese government. In ‘La Noire de ‘ Sembene develops a spatiotemporal aesthetics of neocolonialism that acts as the primary structural principle of the film and reveals the contradictory existence of the neocolonial subject. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]