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Senegal, 1988
Directed by Ousmane Sembène, Thierno Faty Sow
Starring Sidiki Bakaba, Hamed Camara, Ismaël Lô, Philippe Chamelat
Screenplay by Ousmane Sembène, Thierno Faty Sow
In French, English, and Wolof with English subtitles
Approx. 153 min. 35mm print courtesy Harvard Film Archive.

"A magisterial critique of the colonial mentality" – J. Hoberman. Based on an actual historical incident. In 1944, African infantrymen, back from slugging it out with the Nazis and liberating Paris, relax in a transit camp in Senegal; but as they gag on inedible food and wonder what happened to that back pay, they realize "transit" should read "prison," and "war heroes" should read "uppity natives." And then things get worse. Special Jury Prize, Venice Film Festival.


"His most haunting work, featuring the glorious actor Ibrahima Sane revealing his regal bearing and low-keyed. Intensity."
 – World Film Directors

"Sembène deeply personalizes it with heroic-flawed characters, lyrical frame-within-frame compositions and intimate-epic scope."
 – Scott Foundas

"An epic of David Lean dimensions."
– Stuart Klawans

Film Forum