Vénus noire is a period drama, a biopic of Saartjes Baartman, a black woman who left her native Southern Africa in the beginning of XIX century and ended up dying in Paris roughly a decade later. Her life in Europe was never an easy road. She was an entertainment attraction, a prostitute, a scientific research item, and, finally, a museum showpiece. She almost never was treated like a human being. She never got to return home.
The film is completely devoid of manipulative tendencies – it’s strictly descriptive, it doesn’t try to suggest any emotional pattern, and the viewer would have to make a consious effort to fully realize what’s going on, and how the heroine might be feeling. It’s extremely sad, and even terrifying if you imagine it real good. Which is not that hard, really, because the movie seems to be very authentic. But in the end high quality of implementation only makes it worse, because it makes you feel very distinctly how hopeless everything is.
It’s not clear what methods are used to achieve a goal, but it’s quite clear that the goal is achieved successfully. I know, this is a rather confusing impression, but what I can tell for sure: it’s real art, it’s powerful, it’s extremely depressing, and also you’d have to work for it. But it’s all worth it in the end.
Released in: 2010
Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
Written by: Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix
Performed by: Yahima Torres, Andre Jacobs, Olivier Gourmet, Elina Löwensohn, François Marthouret, Michel Gionti, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Jonathan Pienaar, Rémi Martin, Jean-Jacques Moreau, Cyril Favre, Dominique Ratonnat, Didier Bourguignon, Ralph Amoussou, Alix Serman
Entertaining quality: 4 out of 5
Art quality: 5+ out of 5
IMDB page: link