“Whether it’s DeMille, Hitchcock, the Senegalese filmmaker Sembéne … we’re all walking in their footsteps every day…” – Martin Scorsese.
Of the three filmmakers name-dropped by Scorsese, it is Ousmane Sembène who will be the subject of the Showroom Cinema’s film season, Rebel with a Camera, which offers an insight into the Senegalese writer, producer and director’s prolific and groundbreaking record. From teaching himself the art form to becoming renowned as the Father of African Cinema, he aimed to represent the marginalised and voiceless in society by creating sociological dramas to highlight and reclaim the narrative in the face of African society’s contradictions, corruptions and injustices.
The Rebel with a Camera season comprises four feature-length screenings, ranging from his 1966 debut about a Senegalese childminder who returns with the child’s family to the south of France, Black Girl (Mon 3 October), through to the posthumous documentary, Sembène (2012), compiled by his colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo, along with fellow filmmaker Jason Silverman. It is this centrepiece documentary, scheduled for Mon 10 October, that has ensured Sembène’s legacy around the world and is essential viewing to give a background to his overall work. Gadjigo will also be appearing at the Showroom for a Q&A after the film screening.
The other films showing during the season are the colonial satire Xala (1975), which will be screened on Thu 13 October, and Sembène’s final film before his death in 2007, Moolaadé (2004), which tackles the horrors of FGM on Thu 6 October.
The programme of his selected works is also touring the UK between October 2016 and January 2017, sharing his catalogue of African stories for African audiences with intercontinental viewers. You can catch all four films across from Inverness to various London venues, with other destinations including Manchester’s HOME, Keswick’s Alhambra and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse.
Book tickets for all films at the Showroom Cinema here.