It was with great sadness that the world learned of legendary filmmaker Sarah Maldoror's passing, due to COVID-19 on Monday 13th April 2020.
Born in 1929 to a father from Guadolope and a French mother, she took the name Maldoror as her artist name, inspired by the late 1860s novel, The Songs of Maldoror, by Comte de Lautréamont.
Sarah Maldoror studied drama in France and co-founded the first black theatre company in Paris in 1956. She subsequently studied film in Moscow before embarking on a career characterised by anti-colonial activism and productivity.
Maldoror worked as an assistant director on The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966) and made her first film – a short – Monangambée, in 1968. In 1972 she directed her first feature length film, Sambizanga, portraying the Angolan liberation struggle from the point of view of a woman. Sarah Maldoror pursued to make more than thirty films, including the documentary, Aimé Césaire, Le masque des mots in 1987.
In an interview with Justine Malle, Sarah Maldoror says, ‘Life continues, whatever happens. You fall, another one stands up and the struggle continues’.
May Sarah Maldoror rest in peace!
For insightful writing about Maldoror and her filmmaking, see Olivier Barlet's tribute on Africultures and Basia Lewandowska Cummings's piece on Africa is a Country.