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Too Black to be French?

Isabelle Boni-Claverie and Patrick Simon

Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 6:15 p.m.

Institute of French Studies Film Screening

Quark productions and Arte, 2015; in French with English subtitles

Followed by a discussion with director ISABELLE BONI-CLAVERIE and sociologist PATRICK SIMON (Institut national d'études démographiques, Paris)

In this documentary film, Isabelle Boni-Claverie explores the role of race, the persistence of racism in France, and the impact of the French colonial past. She uses the lens of her family and personal history as the granddaughter of an African from the Ivory Coast who married a white French woman in the 1930s. Though she grew up in relatively privileged circumstances, she remembers: “I was six years old and for the first time I became aware that I was black and that the color of my skin, to which I had attached no importance, defined me in the eyes of others.” The filmmaker draws on her own history as well on anonymous interviews of ordinary people and conversations with sociologists and historians including Pap Ndiaye and Achille Mbembe, to explore questions of race, culture, identity, and belonging.

Co-sponsored by NYU's Department of French, Institute of African American Affairs, and Institute of French Studies.