Past Film/Video | Classics

Soleil Ô

(O Sun, Med Hondo, 1970)

A close-up image of a Black man holding a cigarette in his hand and looking slightly off-camera.

The first feature from one of the founding fathers of African cinema has it all: formal virtuosity, radical politics, and revolutionary struggle.

Med Hondo’s explosive debut feature is a bitterly funny commentary on the treatment of immigrants and France’s dire colonialist legacy. Based on Hondo’s own migrant experience, Soleil Ô follows an African man (a composite Pan-African character played by Robert Liensol) in France who quickly becomes disillusioned by the racism and employment discrimination that keep him from opportunities in a new land. With stylistic influence from the contemporary New Wave movement, this imaginative, criminally underseen work showcases Hondo’s formal cinematic talent, unprecedented vision, and dedication to global movements of emancipation. Soleil Ô was selected at Cannes Critics’ Week and won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1970. In French with English subtitles. (102 mins., DCP)

See the complete lineup of Three Films by Med Hondo.

Soleil Ô, courtesy of Janus Films.

"A furious cry of resistance against racist oppression and a revolutionary landmark of political cinema."
Aboubakar Sanogo, The Criterion Collection

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About the filmmaker

Med Hondo chevron-down chevron-up

Med Hondo was born in the Atar region of Mauritania in 1936 and emigrated to France in 1959, taking on an assortment of jobs to fund his drama studies. As an actor he appeared in several notable films, including Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin Féminin (1966), but was most recognizable to French audiences as the French voiceover of Black actors in numerous dubbed American films. In 1970 his directorial debut, Soleil Ô, premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week. Throughout his decades-long career, Hondo exposed the difficulties faced by African migrants, celebrated leaders and revolutionaries of the African diaspora, and remained committed to the emancipation of oppressed peoples everywhere. All of Hondo’s films challenge the status quo, and the director remained an outspoken supporter of Black cinema throughout his life. 

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Sarah Maldoror: Tricontinental Cinema. 

National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio Humanities

Rohauer Collection Foundation

Ohio Department of Development

Greater Columbus Arts Council

The Wexner Family 
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Ohio Arts Council, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme 
The Columbus Foundation 
Nationwide Foundation 
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

Mike and Paige Crane 
Axium Packaging 
Nancy Kramer 
Ohio State Energy Partners 
Ohio History Fund/Ohio History Connection 
Larry and Donna James 
David Crane and Elizabeth Dang 
Bruce and Joy Soll 
Rebecca Perry Damsen and Ben Towle 
Jones Day 
Alex and Renée Shumate


Past Film/Video

Soleil Ô