The Silent Monologue

Le monologue de la muette

  • Khady Sylla, Charlie Van Damme
  • Senegal, France, Belgium
  • 2008
  • 45 min
  • Panorama
In the voice-over, we hear the thoughts of Amy, a girl from a rural area of Senegal who works as a domestic for a well-to-do family in Dakar. She complains about her employer, who continuously criticises her and gets on her case, and she talks about her dream of one day opening her own eatery. Meanwhile, we see her sweep the pavement, prepare the food and clean the house. The contrast with her vast and barren native region is enormous. In Dakar, some 150,000 young women work as housekeepers for families whose daughters can go to school. "Why does the emancipation of some result in the servitude of others?" the filmmakers wonder aloud. They interview other young maids who dream of going to school, and they film a woman who shouts her furious lyrics straight into the camera in rapper-like fashion: "I keep your houses squeaky clean, but you all think I'm dirty!" In a dramatised scene in a slum, the women demonstrate how they'd like to deal with a woman who doesn't pay her housekeeper enough. In response to the situation, the filmmakers make an appeal to change the rules of the world economy.


  • 45 min
  • color
  • video
  • Spoken languages: French, Wolof
  • Subtitles in: English
Khady Sylla, Charlie Van Damme
Angèle Diabang for Karoninka, Sophie Salbot for Athenaise, Isabelle Truc for Iota Production
Charlie Van Damme
Emmanuelle Baude
Gwenn Nicolay

IDFA history

Supported with €15000 for Classic: Production & postproduction

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