In Faat Kine, Ousmane Sembene, the unquestioned father of African cinema, calls his fellow Africans to a reckoning of the post-independence era at the beginning of a new century. At 77, he sums up 40 years of path-breaking filmmaking with a penetrating analysis of the interplay of gender, economics and power in today's Africa. Sembene accomplishes all this through the deceptively light domestic drama of Faat Kine, a gas station operator born, significantly, the same year as Senegalese independence, 1960. Faat Kine is, from its first shot to its surprising last, Sembene's tribute to what he calls the everyday heroism of African women. In the opening frame, a procession of traditionally dressed women wends its way majestically through the hectic heart of modern Dakar. Faat Kine lets them pass and drives on as she carries their story into the present. Sembene has said: Africa's society and economy are held together today by women. But how can women have these responsibilities and yet be denied the same privileges as men? Although the film covers several days, it feels more like a single day in the life of Faat Kine, from learning of her children's successful exam results in the morning to their party that night. This apparently uneventful plot is interspersed with brief flashbacks, announced by music cues, as Faat Kine recalls the struggles that made this moment of quiet achievement possible. Sembene dares in this latest film to reduce narrative to a minimum because Faat Kine is not so much a drama of events, as a drama of recognition, a long-overdue accounting which in its last scenes turns into a virtual public trial of a generation of misleaders. Throughout the film, it becomes clear that traditional roles, between males and females, parents and children, no longer apply and that it is time to start calling things by their real names. For example, Mammy describes herself as the daughter of her daughter.