Confrontations of Relationships

by dmill8 on November 17, 2013 - 11:35pm

The film Black Girl (Sembene, 1966), directed by Ousmane Sembene illustrates the relationship between the main character Diouana and her employers. Sembene portrays the relationship between a worker and their employer as a stressful and tension filled relationship. Also, sometimes the relationships between workers and employees can be abusive, in either way. The most common way is abuse upon the worker from the bosses, which is shown in this film.

            The film uses characterization of the main characters Diouana and her mistress, to show their relationship and the ups and downs they go through. At the beginning the two women get along very well, until Diouana begins to be treated unfairly and that causes conflict on their relationship and also causes tension in the work environment. Diouana is from Dakar, which is where her mistress found her to work for her there. The mistress and her husband and children are French and Diouna does not speak French. This causes an even worse barrier between the two parties. There can be a larger chance of miscommunication between them because of the language barrier.

            Their work relationship is very limited because, there is little communication between them, and also her mistress is beginning to treat her poorly when she is working for them in France. The relationship they share is one that causes a lot of tension between Diouana and everyone else. The strain that is put on her by the family and mostly the mistress takes a toll on her like it would anyone else. With a limited work relationship, with barely any communication it is very hard to keep it stable. The little communication that did occur, came from her mistress yelling commands and demands at her until they were done. The stressful work environment and little communication between them made their lives very hard and it ended up much worse for Diouana.

            In the film My Beautiful Laundrette (Frears, 1985), the main character Omar, is struggling to make a living my owning and operating a launderette. His old friend Johnny becomes more than a friend when he is hired to help Omar out at the launderette.  The director Stephen Frears emphasizes the secretive aspect of Johnny and Omar’s relationship. Behind closed doors Johnny and Omar had more than a friendship, which nobody else knew about.

            There is a reoccurring theme of oppression in this film. Omar and his family are Pakistani living in a predominantly white area. There are instances when Omar and others are made to think that they will never survive, and find steady jobs because of their ethnicity. They face a lot of discrimination in their lives, as many people do in this world. The fact of discrimination does not stop Omar from proving them all wrong, and creating a successful business out of an old run down shop.

            The portrayal of these characters in these situations simulates when people are faced with challenges in their lives that they need to overcome eventually. The relationship between Omar and Johnny is highly frowned up. This confrontation of views is important to understand because of the way it impacts their lives. The impact on their lives causes them to behave differently towards different people. The fact that Omar is the manager of the store leads him to upward economic mobility for him, which is an important benefit in the world he is living in. The opportunity to advance in life, is so important for growth as a person. If a person stays stagnant their whole life, and never really changes, they will never know any differently. This is important because if Omar did not advance, he would not have known anything outside of living with his father, doing hard physical work, and being set up for marriage. 


Ousmane, S. (Director) (1966). Black Girl [Theater].

Stephen, F. (Director) (1985). My beautiful laundrette [Theater].



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