A fascinating snapshot of life in Dakar.
Sembene's first film, Borom Sarret ("cart owner") chronicles a day in the life of a beleaguered horse-cart driver in Dakar. In spite of the material limitations of the production - if not because of the challenges they posed - Borom Sarret manages to create a powerful social statement as it combines simple means with complex observations on bureaucracy, religion, and the anonymity of the modern city. Compressing his narrative into a mere nineteen minutes, Sembene conveys the condition of Senegal's urban poor as he situates their experience in the larger social panorama of post-independence Africa.
Directed by Ousmane Sembene
Senegal, 1963, b/w, 19 min, French with English subtitles
with Abdoulaye Ly