Présence Francophone: Revue internationale de langue et de littérature


During an artistic career that spanned half a century, Ousmane Sembène often played a pioneering role. However, although the many awards he received constitute recognition of the artistic quality of his work, his literary and cinematic output is best known for its denunciation of colonial and neo-colonial injustices. This article argues that Sembène’s importance is not solely political, and nor should it be limited to his role as a pioneer of African cinema. Sembène was also a great artist who developed a profound refl ection on his practice both as a writer and as a filmmaker. The article will trace this reflection on the form of his work through an analysis of texts and films more often cited for their ideological than for their cultural significance. In-depth analysis of his work reveals an artist who consistently attempts to imagine the world differently : discovering new forms, new plots, new contexts are all central components of his attempt to imagine processes of resistance to various forms of oppression.



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