The film entered the competition at the 45th Venice International Film Festival, in which it won the Grand Jury Prize. The film depicts the Thiaroye massacre, which happened in Thiaroye, Dakar, in 1944.
The film is about the mutiny by and mass killing of French West African troops by French forces on the night of November 30 to December 1, 1944. West African conscripts were protesting poor conditions and revocation of pay at the Thiaroye camp. The film is a criticism and indictment of the French colonial system.
The film documents the events leading up to the Thiaroye massacre, as well as the massacre itself. The film received positive reviews at the time it was released and continues to be heralded by scholars as an important historical documentation of the Thiaroye massacre.
The film was banned in France for a decade and censored in Senegal as well.