Extra Credit 2

Black Girl End Scene

This short film that we viewed recently in class was rather touching. The actors all had a strong presence, especially the lead, Diouanna. However, the scene I chose to analyze is the end scene, which she is not in. Well, at least not literally.

I would actually like to go about this analysis post somewhat in the format of the Gaze assignment. But before I get into that, I suppose some background information on the film would help paint the picture. Basically, Diouanna is a young Senegalese woman who is a nanny for a white family – mother, father, son. She lives in Senegal with her family while she works as a nanny. When the family relocates to France, they invite Diouanna to come with them and be their live-in nanny. She imagines a life in France will be a glamorous one and agrees to do it. However, when she gets to France, it isn’t long until she realizes her expectations surely did not match her reality. She is treated worse and worse everyday, forced to work harder, and gets excuses instead of payments. The wife is especially rude to her. Diouanna isn’t allowed to wear dresses while she works according to the wife. After the husband and wife write a fake letter to Diouanna from her mother,  she decides that she has had it and she is leaving. She begins to pack everything, including a mask she had given to mother in the family as a gift a long time ago, when she might have deserved it. When the parents get home that day, they notice the house is still a mess and no one is watching their son. When they look for Diouanna, they find her sleeping and the wife wakes her and yells at her. Shortly after, the wife notices the mask is missing off the wall and she finds it in Diouanna’s room and they fight over it. The wife is really a petty b*tch (for lack of a better word, sorry!) in this film, man I hate her. Eventually Diouanna wins the battle for the mask. She continues packing her things and I assumed she would travel back to Senegal, but instead she commits suicide in the bathroom of the family’s house. Very sad.

Anyway, the husband shockingly has enough respect to travel back to Senegal to return Diouanna’s belongings to her family, including the mask. Diouanna’s little brother takes a liking to the mask and holds it to his face as soon as he recieves it. He follows the husband on his way back to the airport staring at him through the mask. The husband is so very intimidated and genuinely freaked out by the young boy in the mask, who isn’t even doing anything. He doesn’t yell at the kid to go away or anything, either. He just picks up his pace and tries to escape him.

Personally, I believe the mask represents Diouanna’s spirit and ghost. It is haunting the husband because he treated her badly, and allowed his wife to treat her even worse. He cannot escape the memory and the ghost of Diouanna, no matter how hard he tries. This is why he doesn’t tell the boy to go away. He knows its not the boy haunting him, and he knows he can’t get rid of it. The film ends with the boy slowly lowering the mask off his face to reveal a facial expression that’s rather melancholy, and maybe even a bit evil, while the husband drives away in the distance. The boy is clearly is upset over the loss of his sister, and who could blame him? I’m personally glad he was able to remind the husband of how terrible he has been and how he will have to live with the grief and guilt for taking away a young woman’s life who was nothing but kind and faithful to him and his family.

Other people thought the mask represented something else, but I’m almost positive the mask represents Diouanna herself. Throughout the end scene, the camera is either focused on the mask itself, or the view from behind the mask.


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2 Comments so far

  1.    Jihae Park on December 16th, 2011

    We all think differently but I think you had a good interpretation about what the mask represent.

  2.    Amy Herzog on December 20th, 2011

    Very nice analysis!

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