News

New 'Sembène!' Documentary Explores The Uncompromising Genius Behind The Father Of African Cinema [Exclusive Clips]

Watch two exclusive clips from the new feature-length documentary on Senegalese filmmaker and 'father of African cinema' Ousmane Sembene.


Ousmane Sembene and Samba Gadjigo (Screengrab from Sembène! Exclusive Clip #2)

“I will not let Sembene be forgotten.”

So says Samba Gadjigo, co-director and narrator of a new feature-length documentary about his colleague and close friend, the late Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene.

An official selection at the 2015 Sundance and Cannes festivals, Gadjigo and Jason Silverman’s Sembène! weaves together archival materials, new footage, animation and clips from Sembene’s films as it tells the story of the self-taught novelist and filmmaker’s rise from dockworker and fifth grade dropout to the “father of African cinema.”

The film officially opens at New York City’s Lincoln Plaza Cinema tomorrow. Ahead of the release, independent arthouse distributor Kino Lorber shares with us two exclusive clips from Sembène!.

In the first of the two videos, we see a glimpse of Sembene’s unrelenting work ethic.

“I am not unpleasant,” we hear the filmmaker say. “This is how I was born. It is others who see me as unpleasant.”

Meanwhile, the scene soon switches to Gadjigo reflecting on the self-destructive nature of his friend’s methods. “Sembene could not see," he says. “At every step he was on the brink of falling because he did not know where to put his foot. Although he was surrounded by far younger people, he outworked them.”

He adds, “I told him I think that you should take a break. He said, ‘After I die, I’ll have plenty of time to rest. Let’s go to work’.”

In another instance, we watch as Sembene films the reenactment of a young girl’s circumcision. For Sembene, “two minutes of her tears”–what the rest of his crew was deeming torturous–was justified if it meant “washing out the pain millions of girls are going through.”

In the second of the two clips, the film sheds light on Gadjigo’s relationship with Sembene and his seventeen years as Sembene’s “guide.” Setting up events with the auteur and his films at universities and festivals around the world, Gadjigo–Sembene’s official biographer–says he would always bring a video camera with him.

“I think when he came here, he just realized he was valued more outside of Senegal than back home,” says Gadjigo. “He had lost some self-confidence. Sembene gave me a second look, and he basically saw this young enthusiastic African scholar as a resource.”

'Sembène!' opens Friday, November 6, at Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City. Keep up with the film on Facebook, Twitter and their official website . Head here for a full list of playdates.

News Brief
Photo: Single cover art courtesy of Emerald East

Rema Welcomes 2021 With New Single 'Bounce'

The Don Jazzy produced track reminds us of why the Nigerian singer-songwriter is topping charts.

Nigerian golden boy Rema took his time on deciding how to start of 2021—and we're glad he did.

The afropop hitmaker is out with his first project of the year, "Bounce", after stunning fans with word of an upcoming album, and the cooks in this kitchen have not disappointed.

Keeping it in the Mavin Records family, legendary producer Don Jazzy sprinkles his magic on the track, while undoubtedly motivating the young singer-songwriter to be his best self. And with this track being like nothing we've heard from Rema before, one could say Jazzy succeeded. "Bounce", fast-paced and fierce, is a love song dedicated to bewitchingly beautiful and blessed bottoms. The candid declaration and hip shaking beat are a force duo and we can't help but love it.

Of the single and collaboration with head honcho Don Jazzy, Rema says, "This record was inspired by the luscious and magnificent body of the African woman. Furthermore, I'm really excited about this tune because it's my first single with the legendary Don Jazzy."

Honestly, when you start the year off with a banger, you get to make songs about butts.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Sincerely Ria Is Giving Guinean Fashion Its Flowers

And designer Mariama Diallo's NYFW debut celebrates the vibrancy and uniqueness of Guinea and its Fulani culture.