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A new programme of film begins this Friday at Chapter, Cardiff, titled Rebel with a Camera: the Cinema of Ousmane Sembène.

Black Girl, dir: Ousmane Sembène

The programme, being coordinated by Aya Distribution with support of the BFI and The National Lottery, includes a week-long release of the new documentary about the cinema of Ousmane Sembène, called Sembène! starting this Friday 18 November. The first screening will be followed by a Q&A with co-director of the film, Jason Silverman.

Ousmane Sembène, known as the father of African cinema, is one of the key figures of world cinema, and one of the most important African cultural figures of the 20th century; and yet his work, very much still relevant today, remains unknown to many. In 1952, Ousmane Sembène, a dockworker and fifth-grade dropout from Senegal, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. The feature-length documentary tells of the self-taught novelist and filmmaker who fought, against enormous odds, a monumental 50-year-long battle to give African stories to Africans. Sembène! is told through the experiences of the man who knew him best - colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo - and uses rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive material.

Chapter’s programme is part of a UK-wide season of showings of Ousmane Sembène’s work built around the documentary and capturing the life and works of this prolific and essential filmmaker. The three other films showing at Chapter are Black GirlXala and Moolaadé, each of which was in itself a key and groundbreaking work of world cinema. The season is supported by FORWARD the leading African women led organisation working on the issue of female genital mutilation (raised in Moolaadé), and who supported the release of the film in 2004. Moolaadé  is the story of Colle Gallo Ardo Sy, a circumcised woman, who has managed to help her only daughter escape from the ritual of ‘purification’ organised every seven years. Now that the next ritual is about to happen, four young girls have fled from the village to escape from excision. Moolaadé is a film regarded as Sembène’s masterpiece, made when he was already 81 years old. The programme is also supported by the Africa in Motion Film Festival, a leading UK African film festival, now in its 11th year, comprising film screenings and events.

For information about the full season see Chapter’s website: