Emitai (1971)

OUSMANE SEMBENE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBSenegal, 1971.  Filmi Domirev.  Screenplay by Ousmane Sembene.  Cinematography by .  Film Editing by .  

Ousmane Sembene’s historical drama is a somewhat esoteric but still absorbing drama about Senegal’s colonial history. It takes place during World War II, with a Diola village resisting French rule in various forms: first, the young men are conscripted to defend their imperial power in battle, which is not accepted, and later a heavy rice tax is imposed upon the village which the women (who control rice production) refuse to pay. Things come to a dramatic head when the French soldiers hold the women all under arrest until they reveal where they have hidden their store of rice. Those unfamiliar with Sembene’s storytelling rhythm might have a hard time following, but it is an impressive spectacle and a powerfully political story.

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