In the 1950s, tired of being cast as maids, four friends founded the first all-black theater company in France. One of them was Sarah Maldoror, who went on to study at the Moscow Film School and to work (uncredited) as an assistant on The Battle of Algiers (1966). She completed over forty film projects—features, documentaries, many shorts—and left at least as many unrealized. Those that did get made suffered damage and loss. Sambizanga, her 1972 masterpiece on the Angolan liberation movement and the first feature film shot in Africa by a woman of African descent, slipped out of her control. The rights were sold by one French producer to another, who held them hostage for decades. Neglected, unseen, the film was left to fade. After a long battle waged by Maldoror’s daughters with support from the Film Foundation, it has been restored to radiance.
from Yasmine Seale (4columns.org, january 7th 2022)
After studying theater and participating in the creation of the first black troupe in Paris, “the Griots”, Sarah Maldoror, of Guadeloupe origin, left to study cinema in Moscow. Her first productions took her to Africa, where she shot anti-colonialist films, very representative of committed cinema in the 1970s. She obtained in 1969, with Monagambée, shot in Algeria, the prize for best director at the Carthage Cinematographic Days. With her first feature, Rifles for Banta (1970), shot in Guinea-Bissau, Sarah Maldoror took the path of the maquis and engaged in difficult productions, on the fringes of official circuits. Sambizanga (1972), filmed in the Congo, earned him the Golden Tanit at the Carthage Film Days. She passed away in April 2020.
Claude Agostini, Sarah Maldoror, Mario Pinto de Andrade, Maurice Pons, d’après le roman de José Luandino Vieira, A vida verdadeira de Domingos Xavier
Georges Klotz, Sarah Maldoror