Dieye Ma (Marigo) sitting in a shop iin the film Le Franc

Le Franc + The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun

Djibril Diop Mambéty | Senegal | 1994/1999

Rating: PG Runtime: 91 minutes

“Mambéty made only a handful of films in his short life, but each one is very special” – Martin Scoresese

From the legendary Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty (best known for his film Touki Bouki), comes a pair of exciting medium-length films. Both films explore themes of ordinary Senegalese life.

The first film, Le Franc, tells the story of Marigo, a poor musician who is harassed by his landlady, who is struggling to survive after the West African CFA franc has been devalued by 50%.

The second film, The Little Girl who Sold the Sun, follows Sili, a young paraplegic beggar who becomes the first girl to sell the “Le Soleil” daily newspaper. Mambéty dedicated this film to “the courage of street children”.

Both beautifully restored films were intended to be part of a trilogy named “Tales of Ordinary People”, but due to the untimely death of Mambéty, the third was never completed.

“The two films function beautifully as a pair of magical realist works grounded in the political realities of Dakar.”
New York Film Festival.

Screened in cooperation with Institut Français and the Embassy of France

Le Franc

 Rating: PG Runtime: 45 minutes

Screenplay: Djibril Diop Mambéty
Photography: Stéphan Oriach
Editor: Stéphan Oriach
Music: Issa Cissokho,
  Dieye Ma, Moussa N’Diaye
Dieye Ma (Marigo)
Aminata Fall (Landlady)
Demba Bâ (Dwarf) B

The hero of this tale (and perhaps Mambéty’s alter ego) is Marigo, a penniless musician living in a shanty town, relentlessly harassed by his formidable landlady. He survives only through dreams of playing his congoma (a kind of guitar) which has been confiscated in lieu of back rent. At the end of his luck, he buys a lottery ticket from the dwarf Kus, the god of fortune, and glues it to the back of his door under a poster of his hero, Yaadikoone, a legendary Senegalese Robin Hood. When he wins, Marigo begins a harrowing odyssey across a Dakar of trash heaps, dilapidated buildings and chaotic traffic. Stumbling along under the unwieldy door, he seems to carry the burdens of an absurd world on his shoulders…

The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun

Rating: PG Runtime: 45 minutes

Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty
Screenplay: Djibril Diop Mambéty
Photography: Jacques Bess
Editor: Sarah Taouss-Matton
Music: Wasis Diop
Lissa Balera (Sili)
Moussa Baldé, Aminata Fall
Dieynaba Laam, Tayerou M’Baye
Martin N’Gom, Oumou Samb

A gem of African cinema, The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun is an uplifting and expertly crafted short feature that leaves you feeling hopeful of a brighter tomorrow. Quietly extraordinary and thematically still relevant, Mambéty’s final film will live on for a long time as a testament to courage and aspiration. This was a much needed antidote twenty years ago, and its strength has only increased over time. An essential classic of world cinema.
—James Hanton, Outtake Magazine, 23 September 2019.


Oct 16 2023


6:15 pm - 7:50 pm