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Too Black to be French
France, 2015, 52 minutes, Color, DVD, French, Subtitled
Order No. W161189
In this documentary film, Isabelle Boni-Claverie explores the role of race and the persistence of racism in France, as well as the impact of the French colonial past. Through an exploration of her personal family history, and interviews with historians and academics, TOO BLACK TO BE FRENCH peels back the layers of race relations in supposedly institutionally colorblind France.

Boni-Claverie, a French-Ivorian, who grew up in upper class French society, unpacks how socio-economic privilege doesn’t mean protection from racial discrimination. Boni-Claverie solicits anonymous individuals to speak on their daily experiences with race, class, discrimination and micro-aggressions. TOO BLACK TO BE FRENCH also features interviews with acclaimed sociologists and historians including Pap Ndiaye, Eric Fassin, Achille Mbembe, and Patrick Simon to help contextualize racial history in France. Boni-Claverie’s film starts an urgent discussion on French society's inequalities and discrimination.


  • New York African Film Festival
  • International Film Festival & Forum on Human Rights Geneva

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    TOO BLACK TO BE FRENCH is a compelling documentary that discloses, in a frank and honest way, a rarely seen example of racism outside of the U.S. Focusing on the popular debate about racism as it relates to nationality, colorism and classism, the filmmaker’s attempt to discover her own French roots takes the viewer along on her journey. Addressed from this very personal perspective makes the experience that much more captivating, yet alarming.
    Michelle Materre
    Assc. Professor, The New School, and Curator, Creatively Speaking Film Series

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    Too Black to be French is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us