Where To Find Ousmane Sembene Films
I wanted to help you guys find where you can purchase or rent Ousmane Sembene’s films and books. Refer to my post Ousmane Sembene Films for more info on his films.
Kudos to Mount Holyoke for access to research.
Click on the links below to seek a good deal on the trailblazing filmmaker’s works.
- Le Docker noir (novel) 1987.This first work of fiction by Sembene depicts the betrayal suffered by an African writer whose novel is published under false pretenses, and the betrayal suffered by African workers who lead a miserable existence in Marseille. This novel is also a fictional reconstruction of race relations between the French and the exiles from France’s colonies in Africa and the black diaspora. Autobiographical in its orientation, it set the political tone for a new breed of works by French-speaking African writers.
- O Pays, mon beau peuple! (novel) – 1957 Sembene’s second novel is a lyrical work. Through Oumar Faye’s tragic fight for land and freedom for his people, the author explores the issues of race relations, racial intolerance, and mixed marriage in a colonial in a colonial setting. Sembene focuses on the odyssey of a young Senegalese man who returns from France to the Casamance in southern Senegal with a white wife and the dream to liberate his countrymen and women from colonial exploitation. Oumar’s death at the end of this novel points to the tragedy lived daily by colonized people under French rule.
- Les bouts de bois de Dieu (novel) – 1960; trans. as God’s Bits of Wood, London: Heinemann, 1995.By far the most widely read and studied of Sembene’s novels, God’s bits of wood is a fictionalized reconstruction of the railroad workers’ strike in 1947that for months paralyzed traffic between Bamako, Thies, and Dakar. A celebration of the people’s power and determination to control their own destiny, this work has also been hailed by critics as one of the first African novels to formulate the idea of women as active agents in the historical process of liberating (politically, economically, and culturally) the African continent,. Most of all, the novel depicts the different changes that can affect an entire people engaged in a fight to free themselves from foreign exploitation.
- Voltaïque (short stories) – Paris: Présence Africaine, 1962; trans. as Tribal Scars, Washington: INSCAPE, 1975.
With this collection of thirteen stories, Sembene broadens the scope of his artistry. The texts assemble here range from tales (“Mahomoud Fall”), to fables (“Communaute”), short stories (“Devant l’histoire,” “Prise de conscience,” “La noire de…, ” and “Voltaique,” a story on the origin of tribal scars). The themes in these stories range from the portrayal of African exiles and polygamy to women’s power and political consciousness.
- L’Harmattan (novel) – 1964 This novel is based on historical events that had far-reaching effects on West Africa’s political transformation: the 1958 referendum on the future of France’s African colonies, organized by General de Gaulle. Set in an unnamed African capital, the story recreates the climate of excitement, hope, fear, and deception experienced by a whole generation of Africans at that time. Through it’s robust characters, the novel also traces the different political orientations of the intellectual elite on the eve of independence.
- Le Mandat –1987 Adapted into a film as ‘Mandabi” in 1968, “The Money Order” represents Sembene’s first and uncompromising look at the human tragedy of post-colonial Africa. Under the combined effects of an imposed cash economy, an alien administrative system, and illiteracy, the hero Ibrahima Dieng casts a new light on the despair experienced by those left out and forgotten by the empty promises of corrupt political and economic hardship.
- Xala –1973 This almost farcical novel focuses on contemporary Senegal. Here Sembene uses the image of sexual impotence as the metaphor for the newly independent nation. The novel also documents the shocking and widening gap between a self-absorbed wealthy elite class and the multitudes living in extreme poverty.
- Borom Sarret (1963) Masterpiece of protest against economic exploitation. Depicts the typical daily encounters of a cart driver in Dakar, Senegal.
- Niaye (1964)Narrated by a village griot, “Niaye” is the tragic tale of a young girl whose pregnancy scandalizes her community. A visiting worker is acccused of being responsible for the pregnancy, but subsequently it is discovered that her own father is the culprit. The community strives to keep the scandal from the French colonial administration.
- La Noire de…(1966) Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop) is a stranger in a strange land. In Dakar, she was a nanny, a job she found fulfilling,but is forced to leave when her employers, Madame (Anne-Marie Jelinek) and Monsieur (Robert Fontaine), relocate to Antibes. The Riviera is lovely, but she is demoted to maid and regularly reminded of her exotic origins,treated as an object and exploited for her “Africanness.” Proud and impassive, Diouana rarely speaks, but a running monologue reveals her growing disillusionment.
- Mandabi (1968)Based on Sembène’s short novel The Money Order, this feature film is a deceptively simple story of a man who receives a money order from his nephew in Paris and attempts to cash it. “Mandabi” is a deeply moving, witty, masterful portrait of a vain man whose vanity pales against the chicanery and callousness of the youthful ambitious petite bourgeoisie.