Coffee Rhetoric: France
Showing posts with label France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label France. Show all posts

August 15, 2011

Ousmane Sembène's 'Black Girl'

Since I'm one of the people that have little to no desire to see The Help and tried (to no avail) to finish Kathryn Stockett's book, I decided to re-visit a 1966 French classic from the New Wave era, called La Noire de... (or Black Girl). Written and directed by Senegalese filmmaker and auteur Ousmane Sembène (christened the Father of African film). 

La Noire de...charts the tragic story of Diouana, a young woman from Dakar who moves to Antibes, France to work for the wealthy French couple she nannied for during their time in Dakar. Excited, Diouana looks forward to taking in the sites of the Riviera and living a cosmopolitan life as she cares for her young charges, however, upon her arrival to Antibes she finds that her mercurial mistress has other plans for her... Diouana is treated harshly (much to the indifference of the man of the house) like a servant; not allowed to leave the confines of the apartment or wear any of the nicer clothes she brought with her. She's not paid in a timely fashion either. Aware of her exploitation in Antibes, a defiant Diouana starts to withdraw and becomes increasingly overwhelmed by homesickness and despair. 

Black Girl definitely touches on the effects of colonialism, post-colonialism, and racism within the confines of Europe and Africa. During one scene Diouana is asked to cook a traditional Senegalese dish for her employers- (she mentally notes that she never had to cook for them when she worked as their nanny in Dakar)- and their affluent friends during a gathering. They openly discuss her exoticism. One of the men excitedly jumps up and demands a kiss, as he's "never kissed a Black girl before." 
This film is subtle and the black and white cinematography is simple; yet La Noire de... is hauntingly tragic in its message, commands attention, and is definitely still relevant as it charts the devastating toll anti-Blackness, postcolonialism, and misogynoir takes mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

September 03, 2007

November 17, 2006

I'm Out of Control... Plus a funny newsbit

This morning- (Or was it yesterday evening? I don't remember as days, hours, and minutes tend to bleed together as of late)- I was watching Tyra Banks administer makeovers to frumpy women, on her talk show. She also gave helpful tips such as, how to pluck your eyebrows the proper way- (they should gradually thin out towards the end... there should never be a "bubble" at the front and thinner towards the end, creating a "tadpole effect. That's wrong)- In any event, for whatever reason, I started crying, as I watched these women and their loved ones react to bouncy, shiny newly coiffed hair, trendy attire, impeccable make-up, and new teeth. Why was I crying? I don't know. Perhaps due to PMS. Anyway, I came across a funny newsbit, on Metro Plus Online, about a "career bum." I found it amusing enough to share. Apparently being unemployed in France, is quite lucrative. What was I thinking, with this damn troublesome work ethic of mine? I could've been living high off the hog, milking the French government of all their wonderful resources.
“Thierry F.” recently outed himself as a professional welfare bum, bragging in his brand-new autobiography that he has lived very well off the French government for most of the last 24 years and that, even after his unemployment benefits expired, he found a second unemployment program to leech from. The latest one pays almost all of his monthly home loan, according to an October dispatch from Paris in The Times of London, and provides free medical care plus a “Christmas bonus,” leaving an equivalent of $214 per month for what the delighted Thierry calls his “leisure activities.”