World Cinema Foundation

BOROM SARRET Ousmane SEMBENE 1963 - 00:22

Often considered the first African film made by a black African, Borom Sarret is Ousmane Sembène's debut film and a clear statement against those who believed that independence had solved all the problems of the Afican people. In Sembène's words: "it is the story of a cartman who is, to some extent, the taxi driver of a horse-drawn cart. Confronted by a rich customer in a residential district prohibited to such a type of vehicle, a cop stops him, makes a complaint, and seizes the cart. Relieved of his livelihood, the poor fellow remains sadly in his place. His wife entrusts the guardianship of their children to him and leaves, while saying to him, 'We will eat this evening...'"


"Manila in the Claws of Light" is a descent to the first circle of hell [...] that of social alienation, particularly hard for Julio, a fisherman from a poor but almost Adamic world. The Dante of the suburbs and building sites, Brocka sows the path of his hero with black pebbles: fatal accidents in the construction site, fights that tragically predict his desire to kill, a rugged engraving of the circles of male prostituition. And, forever in our memory, the vision of the epitome of Dante's Beatrice, taken from her family by an old lady on the false pretext of sponsoring the girl's studies, though actually sold at high prices to a Chinese tradesman.
(Gilles Gourdon, Cinématographe 77, 1982)

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