Sidney Sokhona was a young Mauritanian living in Paris when he embarked on a film project to document a rent strike at the hostel where he and 300 other immigrants were housed in squalid conditions. Born of necessity but in the most modest circumstances, with a borrowed camera and volunteer crew, the film that premiered five years later at the Cannes Film Festival had developed into a politically astute, formally dazzling hybrid of documentary and fiction in which Sokhona himself played the role of a young man clandestinely arriving in Paris in the trunk of a car to be confronted with the dead ends of a crippling bureaucracy, inadequate housing conditions and employment opportunities, overt racism, and the well-meaning but domineering efforts of the progressive Left. Deftly moving between bracingly comedic reenactments, surreal didactic scenes, and documentation of the rent strike in a tone sometimes reminiscent of Sokhona’s friend Med Hondo’s Soleil Ô, Nationality: Immigrant makes a convincing claim to the goal Sokhona would set in a landmark 1978 article for Cahiers du Cinéma: “It is up to us, as African filmmakers who have a place to carve out for ourselves, to make films politically better than anyone else.”