Director: OUSMANE SEMBENE
The cart –driver takes the dirt road into Dakar, picking up passengers on the way. No-one can afford to pay him and as the sun goes down he must return to his wife empty handed once again.
Ousmane Sembene’s Borom Sarret, made in 1963, hailed Africa’s first contribution to modern film and with it the emergence of the ‘grandfather of African Cinema.’ A soldier, a fisherman, a communist trade unionist, and a novelist, Ousmane Sembene turned to cinema in the 1960s to reach the widest possible section of his fellow countrymen.
Sembene sees the artist as ‘the mouth and ears of his people’. In this first work he adopts a pared down realism that he described as ‘a mirror - so my people can take responsibility and solve their own problems’.
Sembene’s very use of Africa, of the modern Senegalese social condition, as his main frame of reference, was a revolutionary move in cinema at the time.
‘Europe is not my reference’, as Sembene puts it himself, ‘Every country creates its images…We don't have to erase them. History will do it for us.’
Commentary by Ousmane Sembene’s son Alain Sembene, recorded in Paris, France
Film courtesy of Alain Sembene and Médiathèque des Trois Mondes