Ousmane Sembène – A revolutionary With A Camera

Ousmane Sembène – A revolutionary With A Camera
Image: Ousmane-Sembène. Image: supplied

The Sydney Film Festival (SFF) will be presenting Ousmane Sembène– A Revolutionary With A Camera, a retrospective of the legendary filmmaker.

Retrospectives are always popular at film festivals, as cinephiles can usually revisit classics on the big screen and a whole new generation of moviegoers can also watch quality cinema from decades ago.

CEDDO film still

However, Ousmane Sembène’s films are not easily available, so this retrospective allows cinephiles interested in the evolution of cinema and the history of African cinema to come along and watch a classic which they may have never seen before.

Sembène was a pioneering Senegalese, considered as the ‘father of African cinema.’ He was a film director, producer, and writer and was also considered as one of the best African authors. His contribution to the arts has impacted the work of many great filmmakers including Martin Scorsese.

MANDABI film still

Martin Scorsese paid the ultimate tribute to Sembène by stating: “None of us would be here without the people who come before us. Whether it is De Mille, Hitchcock or the Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène…”

Keith Shiri, an international authority on African cinema, curated the retrospective and will be presenting each film in the program.


The nine feature films in the retrospective include:

  • Black Girl (1966)
  • Mandabi (1968)
  • Emitaï (1971)
  • Xala (1975)
  • Ceddo (1977)
  • Camp de Thiaroye (1988)
  • Guelwaar (1992)
  • Moolaadé (2004)

The program will also include three of Sembène’s short films, screened ahead of select features in the retrospective.

The three short films in the retrospective are:

  • Borom Sarret (1963)
  • Niaye (1964)
  • Tauw (1970)

“Sydney Film Festival is honoured to showcase the films of Ousmane Sembène, a filmmaker whose works should be more widely seen. His impact on world cinema and his work as inspiration for some of cinema’s greatest creators, is not commensurate with the level of recognition and availability of his works. I hope this retrospective will go some way in rectifying this,” said SFF Director Nashen Moodley.

Festival attendees who enjoy retrospectives are invited to come along and celebrate one of cinema’s master filmmakers.


June 5 – 16

Screens at the Art Gallery of NSW.




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