Director: Med Hondo
Countries: Burkina Faso / Mauritania / France
Year: 1986
Running Time: 120 min.
Language: Dioula, Fula, and French


Based on historical accounts of Queen Sarraounia, who leads the Azans into battle against the French colonialists at the turn of the century, Med Hondo’s sweeping epic rivals any that American cinema has produced. A brilliant strategist and forceful leader, the queen commands respect from the men she guides into battle and deep loyalty from her people. Hondo contrasts the strong alliances that emerge among African communities with the self-seeking and purposelessness of the Europeans and provides much needed African historical perspective. Sarraounia is not only an engrossing tale of a remarkable woman’s bravery, but also a captivating study of revolution against enslavement and the struggle for peace and freedom.

About the Director

Med Hondo

Biography: Med Hondo was born in 1936 in Ain Oul Beri Mathar in Med Hondothe Atar region of Mauritania. His mother was Mauritanian and his father Senegalese. In 1954 he went to live in Rabat, Morocco to train to become a chef at the International Hotel School there. He emigrated to France in 1959 and found work first in Marseille and then in Paris, variously as a cook, farm labourer, waiter, dockworker and delivery man. In the late 1960s, Hondo started taking small roles in television and films. At the same time, he began to learn the craft of film making by careful observation of the work of others, and began to get work behind the camera. He began his first film, Soleil Ô in 1965. Made with a budget of $30,000, Soleil Ô was financed by Hondo’s work dubbing American films into French. It played at during International Critics’ Week at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival where it received critical acclaim. It received a Golden Leopard Award at the 1970 Locarno International Film Festival. In 1981 he was a member of the jury at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival. Some of Hondo’s acting work has been as a voice actor, in films and television series like Funky Cops and Asterix and the Vikings. He has worked on the dubbing of many English language films into French, voicing characters of Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover (on the rare occasions when he was not dubbed by white actor Richard Darbois), Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley. He has dubbed several of Eddie Murphy’s films including The Nutty Professor and the part of Donkey in 2001’s Shrek.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Sarraounia (1993, 2014).

Soleil Ô (1967);
Balade aux sources (1967);
Roi de Cordes (1969);
Partout ailleurs peut-être nulle part (1969);
Mes voisins (1973);
Arabs and Niggers, Your Neighbours [Les ‘Bicots-Nègres’ vos voisins] (1974);
Sahel la faim pourquoi (1975);
Nous aurons toute la mort pour dormir (1977);
Polisario, un peuple en arme (1979);
West Indies… Les Nègres marron de la liberté (1979);
Sarraounia (1986);
Lumière noire (1994);
Watani: un monde sans mal (1998);
Fatima, l’Algérienne de Dakar (2004);
Toussaint Louverture: The First Among Blacks (2008).