A strong statement from Sembene about the forms of oppression practised by the French in West Africa. Set during World War II, it deals with the staggered annihilation of a small tribe that attempts to resist the exploitation of its labour and resources. The initial part of the film presents the theft of their labour, conscripted into the White Man's War. The French quash resistance by separating the village into groups that can be held hostage against the others. Allowing the separation, the village elders bemuse themselves with their unhelpful gods, losing the last chance to organise themselves into militant resistance. Sembene makes his point with a humour all the more powerful for the anger it induces at the genocidal antics of the whites. A conventional film, but it succeeds in its aim, clarifying the logic of the colonial struggle through a specific example. JDuC.