Ousmane Sembene and Thiermo Faty Sow, who wrote and directed this searing critique of colonialism, based it on history and personal experience. During World War Two, Senegalese soldiers fight for their colonisers, the French. But when the war ends and they are returned home and demobilised, they are detained in Camp de Thiaroye. They begin to wonder if their sacrifice was worth it.
The French, for their part, regard trained, seasoned combatants as dangerous men to set loose. The collision between the former soldiers wishing to leave the camp and return home and their jailers’ worries culminates in rebellion and tragedy.
1998: Venice International Film Festival – Winner of Special Grand Jury Prize