Publication TypeFilm
Year of Publication1971
AuthorsSembene, Ousmane
Running Time103 min
Date Released02/09/1973 (USA)
DistributorNew Yorker Films
CountrySenegal, France
Publication LanguageWolof, French

As World War II is going on in Europe, a conflict arises between Vichy France (1940-44) and a Diola tribe in the French West African colony. The men from the small Diola village are conscripted to fight for Vichy France, like many other forced colonial soldiers. When the French soldiers come back for fifty tons of rice, the women hide the rice crop harvest instead of handing it to the French authorities. The male villagers start a battle, armed with spears, against soldiers armed with rifles. In the meantime women are rounded up and made to sit in the sun. The resistance of the villagers unfolds simultaneous to the resistance fighting in metropolitan France against Nazi Germany. When France is liberated, the Diola villagers see portraits of Charles de Gaulle, which replace the old ones with Marshall Petain, but otherwise the circumstances of the village remain unchanged. The film won awards at the Moscow (July 1971) and Berlin (June 1972) film festivals, and was also shown in Cannes in May 1972, however, it was banned for the general public in France because of its "disrespectful view" of French colonial authorities and could not be seen in France and French-speaking Africa until 1977.

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