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Restored Print of Ousmane Sembène’s 1966 classic ‘La Noire de…’ (‘Black Girl’) to Screen as Cannes Classic

Restored Print of Ousmane Sembène's 1966 classic 'La Noire de…' ('Black Girl') to Screen as Cannes Classic

A newly-restored print of Ousmane Sembène’s 1966 classic “La Noire de…” (“Black Girl”) has been announced as an official selection by Cannes for the Festival’s popular Cannes Classics section (dedicated to heritage films), at this year’s (2015) event, May 13-24.
Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, in collaboration with the Sembène Estate, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, INA, Eclair Laboratories and the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, CNC, the restored print will screen, preceded by the new documentary on the filmmaker, “SEMBENE!” by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman, which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

According to Cannes, films restored and selected for the 2015 edition of Cannes Classics will be redistributed in theaters, on DVD, Blu-Ray or VOD some time after their screenings at the festival.

At the center of “Black Girl” is Senegalese maid, Diouana’s plight in Southern France, played out almost like a documentary, capturing the everyday mundanities of her monotonous life, and the resulting mental anguish she suffers, leading to the film’s tragic conclusion. 

Underneath the deceptively simple story of a Senegalese maid (played by the lovely Mbissine Thérèse Diop), and her relationship with the white French couple she works for, reveals a film rich with symbolism and complexities that are essentially reactions to, and analysis of, the cultural legacy of colonialism – a recurrent theme you’ll find in much of Sembène’s work, as well as the untapped strength in African women.

A restored print of the film is more than welcomed, and I’m sure it’ll travel.

Critically acclaimed Franco-Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras (a Cannes veteran who won the Palme d’Or in 1982, and the Jury Prize in 1969) will be celebrated as guest of honor at Cannes Classics this year. 

Other film masters of yesteryear whose restored works will be feted in the Classics section this year include Orson Welles, Luchino Visconti, Louis Malle, and Akira Kurosawa.

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