We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Black Girl" and "Borom Sarret," a feature and a short from Senegal, are the first films in an interesting experiment by the Three Penny Cinema. Every Wednesday for the next six weeks, the theater will open a first-run, unsung art movie that might otherwise never have played here.
These first two films are worth seeing simply for the glimpse they provide of Senegalese society; too often, we forget the naive interest we had as kids in seeing movies about places we'd never been. These are among the very few African films in release in this country, and moviegoers know so little of the real Africa, where King Solomon no longer mines.
From a critical point of view, however, the two films are quite uneven. I'd be interested in learning which one director Ousmane Sembene made first. The short, "Borom Sarret" has the stark and lean simplicity of a story by Babel. But the feature, "Black Girl," is a slow and pedestrian affair that shows little of the same poetry in its filming.
"Borom Sarret" is about a cartman, hard pressed for cash, who during a typical day makes no money, performs a few simply human services, worries about his horse, exhibits a callousness that seems quite reasonable and finally loses his cart after breaking a law left over from colonialism.