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Silent Monologue Director: Khady Sylla and Charlie Van Damme
From: Senegal / Belgium
Year: 2008- Minutes:48mins
Language : French and Wolof with English subtitles
Genre: Docu-drama

In a voice-over, we hear the thoughts of Amy, a girl from a rural area of Senegal who works as a domestic for a well-to-do family in Dakar. She complains about her employer, who continuously criticizes her and gets on her case, and she talks about her dream of one day opening her own eatery. Meanwhile, we see her sweep the pavement, prepare the food and clean the house. The contrast with her vast and barren native region is enormous. In Dakar, some 150,000 young women work as housekeepers for families whose daughters can go to school. "Why does the emancipation of some result in the servitude of others?" Amy wonders. The filmmakers interview other young maids who dream of going to school, and they film a woman who shouts her furious lyrics straight into the camera in rapper-like fashion: "I keep your houses squeaky clean, but you all think I'm dirty!" In a dramatized scene in a slum, the women demonstrate how they'd like to deal with a woman who doesn't pay her housekeeper enough. In response to the situation, the filmmakers make an appeal to change the rules of the world economy.



Comparatively speaking, there are more male filmmakers in Sub-Saharan Africa than women filmmakers. Mostly known in Francophone quarters, Khady Sylla is one of the few female filmmakers, and a published writer, from Sub-Saharan Africa. Her work is representative of a movement of images and ideas in African and Afro-Centric films that are inclined to take a critical look at society.

ArtMattan Productions is pleased to announce the acquisition of Khady Syllla’s The Silent Monologue/Le Monologue de la Muette, co-directed with Charlie Van Damme, a 45 minute visual and poetic analysis of the life of maids in Senegal reminiscent of Ousmane Sembène’s classic “Black Girl.”

The Silent Monologue follows the life of Amy who, at a very young age, is sent to Dakar to work for a Senegalese family.  In Black Girl Ousmane Sembème zoomed on the life of a Senegalese maid working for a white French family in Senegal and France. Khady Sylla does not leave her native Senegal and the team behind the camera gives us a very incisive analysis of an African society, its casts and class issues and the unfulfilled dreams of independence.

The Silent Monologue is a film that goes beyond the slogan Africa for Africans to promote the notion of a better Africa for all Africans. As in Black Girl, the maid is mainly silent.  But here, we hear a persistent monologue that Amy has in her head as she goes about performing the daily tasks of her daily life reflecting on the ills of a contemporary Senegalese society.

With a combination of documentary and theatrical mise en scene, the authors give Amy a voice that is the voice of a woman in one of the lowest echelons of society, however capable of a lucid analysis of her human conditions and that of her peers.

The Silent Monologue is a political film, a combative film and a film rooted in the artistic tradition displayed in the work of other Senegalese authors such as, Ousmane Sembène, Djibril Diop Mambety and Safi Faye.
The Silent Monologue is the second film by Khady Sylla distributed by ArtMattan Productions. In her other film, Colobane Express, we observe 24 hours in the daily life of drivers and passengers of the public vans in Dakar.
Films exploring life in Senegal distributed by ArtMattan Productions are:


DVD sale: $245

SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase The Silent Monologue and Colobane Express for $345