Mar 27, 2017

Black Girl

Despite what some of my less than liberal socio-political views might suggest, I like to think that (or, my accurately, pretty much know) that I am extremely open-minded when it comes to cinema, at least until I get a significant taste of something and realize I can do without it, hence my refusal to watch virtually all new Hollywood films. Indeed, while my cinematic tastes are admittedly largely proudly Eurocentric, I could not help but eventually look into the rather small world of true African cinema, so naturally I am familiar with Senegalese novelist turned cinematic auteur Ousmane Sembène (or ‘Sembène Ousmane’ as he is known among certain frogs). Best known as the undisputed ‘father of African film,’ Sembène—a communist that studied filmmaking in the Soviet Union at Gorky Film Studio from 1962-1963 under Hebraic hack propagandist Mark Donskoy (The Childhood of Maxim Gorky, A Mother’s Heart)—is also arguably the greatest black African filmmaker to have ever lived and a virtual one-man-film-industry that demonstrated that a black man could create his own cinematic universe in an artistic medium that was more or less solely invented, pioneered, and refined by Europids.  Notably, the first Sembène film I ever saw was his arguable magnum opus Xala (1975), which is somewhat stereotypically black in the sense that it depicts a corrupt ‘uncle tom’ businessman that suffers from the ultimate negro nightmare of erectile dysfunction as a result of his self-hating and fellow-negro-exploiting ways.  Indeed, while the film might not feature ebonic-ridden rap music or stoned stupid brothas' with their pants falling off their asses, it does include a number of classic perennial stereotypes that are associated with blacks.  At the same time, the film is heavily influenced by ancient African folklore and folk culture (notably, the film also features a brief nod to Sembène's cracker hero Charlie Chaplin). To my surprise, I actually found Xala to be fairly humorous when I first saw it about a decade ago and thus decided to dig further into Sembène's oeuvre, thus leading me to his celebrated debut feature La noire de... (1966) aka Black Girl. Notable for being the very first feature-length film directed by an actual black African in sub-Saharan Africa (as opposed to a pseudo-negro flick directed by a white man or Jew), the almost-60-minute flick was somewhat of a hit in France upon its initial release despite its rather blatant anti-French persuasion and even won the coveted Prix Jean Vigo for ‘best feature film’ in 1966, thus securing Sembène’s place in cinema history. 

 Despite being directed by an unrepentant Pan-African Marxist and thus something I would typically be repelled by, Black Girl proved to be anti-French and anti-white in the best sort of way as a cinematic work that features a scathing depiction of the decadence of the white bourgeois. A postcolonial tragedy that reveals both the innate absurdity of multiculturalism and the somewhat predictable cultural and racial tensions that it sires, Sembène black-and-white arthouse flick follows a young eponymous negress as she learns the hard way the perils of moving from her native Dakar, Senegal to Antibes, France to work as a domestic servant for a super bitchy and sexually repressed white housewife and her well-meaning but weak and ineffectual white husband. Somewhat rightly described by various reviewers as “deceptively simple,” Black Girl is a fundamentally flawed film with a somewhat convoluted flashback structure where it is nearly impossible to tell whether or not the film takes place over the course of a few days or a couple of weeks (naturally, the fact that the heroine seems to have only a couple wardrobes does not help). Indeed, if the viewer did not know better, they would assume the titular negress opts to kill herself after only a couple days of domestic frog servitude, thus giving off the absurd impression that black women rather face death than do a mere couple days of hard housework. Of course, this was not Sembène’s intent, as Black Girl is a movie with a strong message that attempts to demystify the African view of the ‘European Dream’ and the assumed comforts that await poor African negroes in Europa, which is somewhat ironic considering that the filmmaker owes a good portion of his success, critical prestige, and artistic inspiration to France and the Occident in general.  Although surely a work of agitprop, the film has a striking softness and distinct elegance about it due to its inordinately dainty dark-skinned lead and thankfully never succumbs to outlandish grotesqueries, senseless sexual debauchery, or bestial stupidity of an American black power classic like Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) directed by Melvin Van Peebles (who incidentally began his feature filmmaking career with the relatively tame French quasi-arthouse flick La Permission (1968) aka The Story of a Three-Day Pass).  Of course, Sembène's debut feature is a film that is more about black powerlessness than black power.  Instead of being a violent blood orgy and racist fantasy that does literally nothing to address the serious internal problems of the black community like Van Peebles' flick, Sembène’s examines real problems like low self-esteem, illiteracy, and material envy.

 A fifth-grade dropout that was born to a lowly fisherman, Sembène originally earned fame as a novelist, but he eventually realized that not many of his fellow negroes actually read books, so he eventually decided that cinema would be the best artistic medium to spread the Pan-African Marxist message, which is quite clear in his debut feature. Based on one of the director’s own short stories, Black Girl might be best described as a political manifesto in celluloid form. In short, the film is melodramatic agitprop's piece that was clearly informed by Sembène late-life remark, “When women progress, society progresses.” While watching the film, the viewer soon comes to the realization that a negress will always be a perennial second-class-citizen in frogland and that France is a decadent and sexually inverted nation where women seem to wear the pants in relationships and have more testicular fortitude than the men.  Once controlling much of Africa and the rest of the world, France is only a brittle cracked shell of what it used to be and is surely symbolically personified by the decadent white family in the film. Naturally, as the very first African-negro-directed film and a cinematic work that somewhat recently had its 50-year-old anniversary, Black Girl is like an ancient artifact that becomes most intriguing when compared to both contemporary black cinema and the state of negroes in France today. As the hordes of negroes, arabs, and other third worlders that are literally risking their lives just to get to France because they believe it will lead to a lifetime of relative leisure and government handouts, it seems Sembène—an assured victim of naïve acquiescence who seemed to have more faith in his own people than they did in him—was a little too optimistic in his hope that blacks would tell whitey to fuck off and instead stay in and build up negroland. Indeed, I would not be surprised if France was renamed ‘Greater Haiti’ in about a decade or so, but I digress.

Of course, the great irony of non-Europids wanting to relocate to Europe is that Europe is (or, was) great because of native Europeans and the more non-Europids the continent accepts the less European Europe naturally becomes, thus leading to an overall decline in quality of life.  After all, civilization is a precarious thing and not all peoples are suitable for it, or as Harvard-educated American political theorist Dr. Lothrop Stoddard once wrote in his classic text The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under Man (1922), “Civilization thus depends absolutely upon the quality of its human supporters. Mere numbers mean nothing. The most brilliant civilization the world has ever seen arose in Athens—a tiny community where the number of freemen (i. e., genuine Athenians) numbered perhaps 50,000 all told. We therefore see that, for civilization to arise at all, a superior human stock is first necessary; while to perfect, or even to maintain that civilization, the human stock must be kept superior. And these are requirements more exacting than might be imagined. Surveying human history, we find that superior stocks are the exception rather than the rule. We have already seen how many races of men have never risen above the planes of savagery or barbarism, while relatively few races have shown the ability to create high and enduring civilizations.”  Needless to say, France has been long extinguished of the stock that once made the nation great and flooding the country with largely hostile aliens from the Global South is only going to speed up its complete and utter capitulation.  Undoubtedly, the France depicted in Black Girl seems like a sort of figurative luxury cruise ship that has a small hole and is slowly but surely beginning to sink, as the white characters certainly live a life of ease and luxury in a scenic resort area, but it is clear that they are weak and decadent and thus easily susceptible to a drastic decline.

 True to Marxist form, Black Girl is a film that depicts work as an innate evil of sorts that always involves a sinister master-slave dynamic. Indeed, there is no nuance when it comes to Sembène illustrating that when a black person works for a white person, it is nothing more than a form of neo-slavery that seeks to racially, culturally, and economically subjugate the mostly unwitting negro. In fact, the film exaggerates this to such an absurd degree that the titular ebony queens opts to commit suicide in a rather violent way after getting tired of a sexually-repressed white cunt bitching at her all the time (on top of it being somewhat absurd that someone would off themselves instead of simply quitting a job that they loathe, it should be noted that suicide is very rare among black women). In short, elements of the film border on the hopelessly histrionic to the point of heavily contradicting the film’s oftentimes realist feel, but then again that is one of the reasons why the film is so bizarrely engulfing. Utilizing Godardian and Italian neorealist filmmaking techniques as well as African oral traditions, Black Girl is also a somewhat aesthetically paradoxical work in that it is an audaciously anti-neocolonial flick with extremely overt European influences. In fact, were it not for Sembène’s blatant negro gaze and obvious intuitive racial empathy for the black female lead, one might assume the film was directed by a ethnomasochistic white liberal if they did not know better. Mostly comprised of unsynchronized dialogue of the eponymous heroine’s clearly articulated thoughts as she complains in simple words her increasing disdain, sorrow, and fatigue in regard to her job, Black Girl certainly benefits from a seemingly unintentional oneiric-like quality to the point where the viewer feels just as imprisoned in the grating psychodrama that is her unconsciously culturally colonized mind. 

 Black Girl begins simply enough with the titular heroine Diouana (played by first-time actress Mbissine Thérèse Diop, who later appeared in a small role in Sembène’s Emitaï (1971) aka God of Thunder) arriving in a cruise ship to the French Riviera from Dakar where she previously lived in a literal shack with her rather youthful mother. As a poor and completely illiterate girl with no history and next to nil personal belongings, Diouana naturally believes that her life can only get better now that she has moved to France to work as a domestic worker for a white family. Of course, Diouana eventually learns the hard way that there is nothing fun or exciting about being a poor and illiterate black girl in a bourgeois European country where she has no friends. Featuring a fairly disjointed narrative that abruptly switches back and forth between the past and present in a fairly effective manner that underscores the heroine’s tragically pathetic plight and the steps that led to her being in such a less than ideal situation in the first place, the film slowly but surely uncovers how Diouana was more or less tricked into becoming an all-purpose-slave for a lazy cracker bitch that cannot even bothere to play with her own kids or make her husband breakfast despite the fact that she does not even have a job.

Virtually plucked off a Dakar street corner where she and other young negresses would wait at during the day in the hope of being hired by a rich white employer, Diouana is pure of heart and virtually infantile in terms of her understanding (or lack thereof) of the world and especially people, hence why she made for easy prey for a conspiring ‘Madame’ (played by Anne-Marie Jelinek, whose surname suggests Czech, and possibly Jewish, origins) that clearly believes she can bully the negress into doing anything for her. Married to a weak, ineffectual, and emasculated yet seemingly well-meaning nameless Monsieur (Robert Fontaine), Madame is clearly the boss of the house and wastes no time in turning Diouana into her own virtual personal lapdog. Initially plying her with gifts like her own used clothing, including silk underwear, and initially only making her watch her kids upon first hiring her in Dakar, Madame turns into a completely different person when Diouana arrives in France. Indeed, instead of being simply a nanny as she expected, Diouana receives a rather rude awakening when Madame also makes her a cook, maid, and an object of constant ridicule.  For whatever reason, Diouana never once questions Madame's demands and instead keeps her misery inward.  Indeed, as the film progresses, Diouana becomes engulfed in a psychologically crippling nightmare of perpetual ennui and melancholy as she passively accepts her own virtual slavery until it becomes completely unbearable and she succumbs to the most drastic and permanent form of defeat.

 In a series of flashbacks, one learns that Diouana started a brief yet seemingly passionate romantic relationship with a black brother (Momar Nar Sene) from Dakar with revolutionary leanings as demonstrated by a fancy flag of Congolese independence leader and black nationalist martyr Patrice Lumumba that is hanging on his apartment wall. Needless to say, Diouana’s boyfriend gets fairly agitated at her when she dares to have a little fun by playfully hopping across a war memorial in tribute to Dakar patriots that were killed in Europe during World War II. In fact, the boyfriend calls Diouana’s seemingly harmless display “sacrilege” and violently rebukes her for her flagrant ignorance and naivety in regard to the memory of so many dead Dakar brothers. Despite their minor quarrels, it is clear that Diouana and her boyfriend are a great match and that the heroine should have stayed in Dakar to be with him instead of risking everything to work for a melanin-deprived bourgeois cracker family in a faraway land. Undoubtedly, Diouana’s brief romance with her revolutionary beau is the only point in the film when she seems consistently happy and comfortable in her own skin. In short, Sembène is communicating to the viewer that it is always preferable for a black woman to be with a black men in a poor African homeland than living in a wealthier white world full of strangers. 

 While Diouana arrives in France virtually ready to party in a pretty polka-dot dress that she is quite proud of, Madame soon mocks her for wearing said dress and forces her to wear an ugly apron in a symbolic gesture to denote her new lowly status as an exotic neo-slave.  Although the heroine hoped that she would at least have the opportunity to buy new clothing while in France, she does not even get to experience that fairly minor joy and spends literally all of her time virtually imprisoned in her employer's banally decorated apartment. When her white employers have some friends over for lunch one day, a rather rotund bald-headed guest of the somewhat pig-like sort randomly declares to Diouana, “Do you mind, miss? I’ve never kissed a black woman” and then kisses her without her permission, thus predictably disgusting her in the process.  While the heroine can tolerate cooking spicy rice for the guests, she seems almost irrevocably dehumanized after being pecked on the cheek by a fat and goofy old white dude.  Monsieur also seems to have some sexual interest in Diouana, but he is too weak and impotent to act on his desires.  Of course, Madame seems to notice her husband's interest in Diouana, hence one of the reasons for her poor treatment of the heroine.

As the days pass, Diouana becomes more and more dejected and naturally escapes further inward. When Madame notices the heroine’s glaring change in character, she snidely remarks, “Diouanne looks strange” and “She seems to be wasting away,” though she ultimately comes to the conclusion that it is simply because she is “lazy.” Of course, Madame is not exactly happy with her life either as demonstrated by remarks like, “I’m fed up with this life” after getting annoyed with her seemingly impotent husband for taking a nap.  Indeed, as the director seems to suggest, Madame might be somewhat less of a ruthless bitch if her clueless husband knew how to sexually satisfy her.  As Diouana thinks to herself regarding Madame’s boldly bitchy behavior and Monsieur’s similarly unhappy nature, “She wasn’t like that in Dakar. Neither was he,” thus suggesting that even white people prefer Africa to Europe. As for France itself, Diouana can only think, “For me, France is the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom and my bedroom. Where are the people that live in this country? The mistress told me, ‘You’ll see, Diouana, there are lovely shops in France.’ Is France that blackhole?” Indeed, Diouana may be black as coal but nothing is darker to her than the bottomless pit that is the seemingly forsaken frog soul. 

 While Diouana finds working incessantly for an uptight bitch completely insufferable and experiences a variety of horrendous things like being rudely awakened by the sexually repressed white woman screaming in her face, “Get up, lazy-bones! […] We’re not in Africa!,” it is only when the Madame writes a fake letter that is ostensibly from her mother in Dakar that she really loses it and becomes completely convinced that she is a slave. Indeed, Diouana can only weep with rage when the Monsieur reads aloud to her a rather bitchy letter that was supposedly written by her mother that reads, “My dear daughter, this is your mother writing. I’ve had no news since you left. I got the address of your employers through a friend. My health is getting worse every day. Why do you leave me penniless? I’ve nothing to live on while you squander your wages. I know you can’t write but I’m sure your mistress will do it, as she’s a lady and a mother and gave you her cast-off clothes for us. She’ll write for you. You mustn’t think only of yourself. You’ve sent nothing since you left and yet you’ve got your wages. What do you do with them? Think of your mother who has to pay even for water and who is so poor. I think of you and pray for you and your employers. Your Mother.” To add insult to injury, Monsieur proceeds to write a phony reply letter to Diouana’s mother with his own words while she thinks to herself, “That’s not true. And it’s not my letter. My mother didn’t write it. And I didn’t ask him to write a letter for me. And my mistress is no lady. It’s because I can’t write. If I could write, I’d tell about my mistress’ ‘kindness.’ I’m a prisoner here.”  Naturally, the entire experience is humiliating for Diouana, as it forces her to confront her illiteracy and how such a handicap can so easily yet ruthlessly be used against her.  Indeed, completely unable to express her own misery and torment to anyone, Diouana becomes overwhelmed with internal misery to the point where it becomes totally unbearable and she eventually completely emotionally implodes.

 After the phony letter incident, Diouana opts to symbolically terminate her employment with the frigid frog family by taking back an authentic ancient African mask that she gave to them as a gift when they first hired her. When Madame notices the mask is missing and attempts to take it back, an unintentionally humorous interracial struggle over the primitive artifact occurs between the two women that only ends when Monsieur breaks up the little bitch fight. In a feeble attempt to appease Diouana, Monsieur subsequently attempts to pay her, but she drops the 20,000 francs on the floor and collapses, as if she feels great guilt and shame for figuratively prostituting herself for such worthless paper. At this point, Diouana thinks to herself, “Never again will the mistress scold me. Never again will she say, ‘Diouana, make coffee.’ Never again, ‘Diouana, make rice.’ Never again, ‘Diouana, take off your shoes.’ Never again, ‘Diouana, wash this shirt.’ Never again, ‘Diouana, you’re lazy.’ Never will I be a slave. I did not come here for the apron or the money. Never will she see me again. Never will she scold me again. Never again, Diouana. Never will I see them again.” Before opting to kill herself by slitting her own wrist in the family’s bathtub, Diouana thinks to herself in regard to Madame, “She wanted to keep me as a slave,” thus highlighting that her suicide is an extreme and revolutionary, if not somewhat warped, act of personal autonomy.  Indeed, too impotent to defend herself in any other fashion, Diouana has her revenge against the family that emotionally destroyed her by destroying herself in their prized bathtub.  After Diouana’s dubious death results in a small scandal that is covered in a local newspaper, Monsieur opts to fly to Dakar to return the heroine’s personal belongings, including the ancient mask, to her mother. When Monsieur meets Diouana’s mother, he is somewhat bewildered when she refuses to take his blood money. In the end, a little black boy from Diouana’s neighborhood scares Monsieur out of the shacktown by putting on the ancient mask and following him from behind in a manner not unlike some slasher movie killer in a symbolic scene where auteur Sembène seems to express his hope that African youth achieve a sort of atavistic reawakening by getting in touch with their ancient roots and ultimately scaring away whitey from the dark continent for good. 

 While I generally consider Marxists to be infinitely more repellent that fecal-feeding maggots on dog shit and regard Afrocentric types to be less credible in terms of historical facts than a schizophrenic Christian Evangelical after taking a bad hit of acid, I somehow found Black Girl to be, relatively speaking, a fairly sensible film with a healthy message against the false song of multiculturalism and a sort of organic black pride that is not driven totally by resentment or an imagined glorious past involving ancient rocket-powered pyramids and magical pitch black Israelite god-kings, among various other patent absurdities. While it probably was not even Sembène’s intention, the film also manages to do the seemingly impossible by deconstructing the loud and angry negress archetype. Indeed, in an exotic negroid prole fashion, the eponymous heroine of Sembène’s debut feature radiates an inordinate amount of refined ebony elegance that is simply all but impossible to find in cinema history, including in negrophiliac Hollywood. In short, Spike Lee’s films seem like neo-minstrel shows compared to the true negro kultur that Sembène created cinematically.  Indeed, in terms of American negro filmmakers, it seems that only Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, My Brother's Wedding) comes close to Sembène in terms featuring nuanced black characters as opposed to mere stereotypical caricatures and one-note coons.

 Notably, at the beginning of his fairly lengthy review of Black Girl for in the April 21, 1995 issue of the Chicago Reader, Jewish-American film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum argued, “If you trace African film back to its first fiction feature, it is only thirty years old. Yet far from being underdeveloped, it begins on a more sophisticated level than any other cinema in the world.” Of course, Rosenbaum’s statement verges on puffery and completely ignores that Sembène’s film owes a good portion of its potency to largely European influences and thus can hardly be described as a cinema that was sired from scratch, at least as far as aesthetics and filmmaking techniques are concerned (naturally, one also cannot forget that Sembène learned his craft from kosher commie Donskoy). Of course, what makes the film truly and authentically African is the story it tells, thus giving some credence to Sembène’s famous quote, “If Africans do not tell their own stories, Africa will soon disappear.” As far as back as at least the short agitprop doc Afrique 50 (1950)—the first French anticolonialist film and a once-quite-controversial piece that led to its French director René Vautier to being imprisoned for several months—certain European filmmakers, especially of the frog orientated sort, have directed sympathetic films about black Africans, yet such cinematic works oftentimes seem racially condescending, self-congratulatory, and virtue-signal-ridden when compared to the films of a real nigga like Sembène. In fact, in a 1965 polemical exchange between the two filmmakers, Sembène accused French cinéma-vérité co-founder Jean Rouch—a quasi-communist anthropologist that holds the dubious distinction of being “the father of Nigerien cinema” despite initially arriving to Nigeria as colonialist in 1941—of, “[looking] at us [black Africans] as if we were insects.” As someone that is more often than not disgusted by the way Judaic filmmakers and Hebraic Hollywood depicts European history and European-Americans in film, I can certainly empathize with Sembène in a strange and somewhat unexpected way in that regard. 

 As a work of artful agitprop that is guided by poetical pathos and a rather blatant yet nonetheless potent and unforgettable message about the need for negro self-determination, I would have to mostly agree with Rosenbaum when he wrote regarding Black Girl, “I’m fully convinced that nothing in this movie can be weakened or spoiled by knowing the story in advance, which is why I’m not showing any hesitation about revealing it. For Sembène, the event is mere raw material articulation is everything.” Of course, the film was made with a youthful black African audience in mind, so it should be easy to see why a black viewer, despite gender, might be horrified at the prospect of a busty and beauteous negress violently offing herself due to living an insufferable slave-like existence of perennial domestic banality at the behest of a seriously sexually-repressed white bitch and her insanely impotent and outstandingly aloof cuck husband. Unfortunately, history has not gone as Sembène hoped it would and now there are more African negroes in France than at any other time in history. Of course, these largely Islamic negroes have not come to France to become low-paying servants, but to act as shameless parasites and suck on the decrepitude old withered teat of the French state while creating their own ‘little Africas’ inside of urban ghettos that no sane white person would dare to walk in. Indeed, it seems French novelist Jean Raspail was unfortunately all too prophetic in terms of his racially apocalyptic vision of European as depicted in his classic dystopian novel Le Camp des Saints (1973) aka The Camp of the Saints, as France and most of the rest of Europe is experiencing a sort of ‘reverse colonialism’ where the third world, seeking ‘the white man’s comfort’ at the white man's expense, comes to feed on what is left of the virtual cock-less cadaver that is the contemporary West. As both Black Girl and The Camp of the Saints demonstrate in quite different ways, colonialism works both ways and has been largely disastrous for both sides in its disharmonious uniting of two very different races from two very different lands and cultures.

Undoubtedly, one of the things that most stood out to me about Black Girl is the almost absurdly impressionable nature of the titular heroine in what ultimately seems to be a critique from Sembène in regard to an innate weakness of African negroes.  Indeed, Lothrop Stoddard might as well has been describing the heroine of the film when he wrote, “This lack of constructive originality, however, renders the negro extremely susceptible to external influences.  The Asiatic, conscious of his past and his potentialities, is chary of foreign innovations and refuses to recognize alien superiority.  The negro, having no past, welcomes novelty and tacitly admits that others are his masters.  Both brown and white men have been so accepted in Africa.  The relatively faint resistance offered by the naturally brave blacks to white and brown conquest, the ready reception of Christianity and Islam, and the extraordinary personal ascendancy acquired by individual Arabs and Europeans, all indicate a willingness to accept foreign tutelage which in the Asiatic is wholly absent.”  Indeed, the eponymous heroine of the film immediately becomes enamored with the novelty of France and French culture and gleefully accepts a position as a mere servant, but this ultimately results in great misery and eventually tragedy.

 For better or worse, resentment seems to be an innate ingredient of black identity and Black Girl is certainly dripping with such resentment, but it thankfully never reaches Spike Lee-esque proportions. Like the rebellious young college kid that cannot stand that he still relies on his parents for rent and food money, Sembène—a black African that was born a French citizen in an African nation that had been under French rule since the late-1800s—was quite flagrant in his resentment towards the French, which is arguably more apparent in Black Girl than any of his other films but, unlike many black American filmmakers, he at least offered a vision for a better future. Needless to say, it is a bitter and biting irony that the film was made with French money, won the 1966 Prix Jean Vigo for best feature film, and is technically a ‘French-Senegalese’ production. In short, Sembène's debut is literal postcolonialism in celluloid form, even if the auteur intended it as a piece of pure and unadulterated Marxist orientated Pan-Africanism. In that sense, I can understand Sembène’s resentment, as if he probably always had it in the back of his mind that he was perennially colonized and could never achieve a complete sense of totally organic African purity, so it is nice to know that virtually all of the auteur's films after Black Girl were true Senegalese productions.  Unfortunately, Sembène never seemed to realize that his intellectual influences like Marxism and feminism were decidedly decadent intellectual movements that were largely created by European-Jews.  Indeed, not unlike Frantz Fanon, Sembène's mind was colonized by kosher quacks.  Needless to say, Marx's long-term influence on Africa has been largely ugly, bloody,  and even genocidal.  Slave-morality-oriented philosophy aside, Marxism is as alien to Africans as any thing French.

While Black Girl gives somewhat different reasons as to why, in general, blacks will fail to collectively flourish in Europe, Stoddard offered fairly reasonable, if not exactly politically correct, theories when he wrote in regard to non-Europids in general, “Now how does the Under-Man look at civilization?  This civilization offers him few benefits and fewer hopes.  It usually affords him little beyond a meagre subsistence.  And, sooner or later, he instinctively senses that he is a failure; that civilization's prizes are not for him.  But this civilization, which withholds benefits, does not hesitate to impose burdens.  We have previously stated that civilization's heaviest burdens are borne by the superior.  Absolutely, this is true; relatively, the Under-Man's intrinsically lighter burdens feel heavier because of his innate incapacity.  The very discipline of the social order oppresses the Under-Man; it thwarts and chastises him at every turn.  To wild natures society is a torment, while the congenital caveman, placed in civilization, is always in trouble and usually in jail.”  Of course, the racial character of France's prisons, criminal gangs, and ghettos certainly demonstrate Stoddard is right, even though he wrote those words in 1922 long before the decolonization of Africa and flooding of Europe with various groups from the third world.

Indubitably, one of the most important things I took away from Black Girl is that it is the first film directed by an African negro features a strong anti-multicultural message.  Surely, Sembène's debut feature makes for a great double feature with Claire Denis' White Madness (2009)—a less than liberal flick about an unhinged white bitch that hates white people who ultimately sacrifices her entire family to anti-white negro revolutionaries because she refuses to move to Europe—as both films demonstrate in rather provocative ways how Africans and Europeans will never live in harmony.  Of course, one only has to look at American, Haitian, and African history to realize this is true, but most whites rather live in denial of the fact that most blacks have nothing but contempt for them and nothing they do can change that.  Personally, I much prefer watching films by the likes of Sembène, Carl Franklin, and even Spike Lee than taking in part in any real-life multicultural experiment and I say that as a proud and unrepentant Eurocentric cinephile.

-Ty E

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