La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil

La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil
Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty
Produced by Waka Films, Maag Daan, Renardes Productions
Written by Djibril Diop Mambéty
Screenplay by Djibril Diop Mambéty
Starring Lissa Baléra, Tayerou M’Baye, Oumou Samb, Moussa Baldé, Dieynaba Laam, Martin N’Gom
Music by Wasis Diop
Cinematography Jacques Besse
Edited by Sarah Taouss-Matton
Distributed by California Newsreel Productions
Release dates
Running time
Country Senegal
Language Wolof

La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (or The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun) is a 1999 Senegalese short drama film, directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty which premiered posthumously after his death in 1998.

La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil is a film exalting the lives and promise found among ordinary Senegalese. It depicts a young beggar girl, Sili, who on crutches, confidently makes her way through a city of obstacles, becoming the first girl to sell a daily newspaper in the competitive world of young male newspaper vendors. Mambéty dedicated this last film to "the courage of street children". The scenes are expertly played by non-professional actors and with the participation of the street children.

It was screened as part of the International Forum of New Cinema section at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival in 1999.

La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil was originally intended as the second film of a trilogy under the title, Tales of Ordinary People. However, Mambety’s untimely death in 1998 prevented the completion of the third film.


In Dakar, selling newspapers on the street is an occupation always occupied by boys. But one morning, Sili, a young beggar, challenges that exclusive rule. Her age is uncertain, between 10 and 13, and she walks the streets with the help of her crutches. She begs for help in the same spot the boys sell their papers, but today they attack her and she falls, rolling over and over. That’s it; she too will sell newspapers starting tomorrow.



La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil debuted on 1 February 1999 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and opened in other film festivals on the dates given below.

Region Release date Festival
Netherlands 1 February 1999 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Germany 20 February 1999 Berlin International Film Festival[1]
New Zealand 27 July 1999 Wellington Film Festival
Canada 12 September 1999 Toronto International Film Festival
U.S.A October 1999 Chicago International Film Festival
Hong Kong 21 April 2000 Hong Kong International Film Festival
Norway 1 May 2002 Kristiansand International Children's Film Festival

Home Release

La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (The Little Girl who Sold the Sun) was released on DVD coupled with Le Franc and is distributed by California Newsreel Productions.[2]

Critical Response

Critical response to the film was mostly positive. Reviewer for The New York Times, A.O. Scott described the film as a "masterpiece of understated humanity".[3]


La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil earned various awards and nominations, with the nominations in categories ranging from recognition of the film itself to its screenplay, direction and editing, to the performance of the lead actor, Lissa Balera. It was selected as one of the ten best films of 2000 by the Village Voice.

Year Film Festival Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
1999 Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema Special Mention Acting Lissa Balera Won
International Biennal for Film Music International Prize for Film and Media Music Special Mention Wasis Diop Won
Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film ACCT Promotional Award Best Actor/Actress of the South Lissa Balera Won
Golden Bayard Best Film (Meilleur Film Francophone) Djibril Diop Mambéty Nominated
Jury Special Prize Djibril Diop Mambéty Won
Procirep Award Djibril Diop Mambéty Won
2000 Aspen Shortsfest The Ellen Djibril Diop Mambéty Won[4]
Chicago International Children's Film Festival Adult's Jury Award Short Film or Video – Live-Action Djibril Diop Mambéty Won[5]
Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival Best Short Djibril Diop Mambéty Won


  1. "Berlinale Archive – Annual Archives – 1999 Programme". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  2. "California Newsreel – TALES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE". California Newsreel. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  3. Scott, A. O. (24 November 2000). "With Ties to Africa but Varied Lives All Their Own".
  4. "Shortsfest 2000 Awards". Retrieved 2011-01-29.

External links

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