The film, Emitai, is the story of the silent resistance among a Diola tribe in West Africa in early World War II. Desiring a strong army, the French tear through villages rallying up men to be transported to France while leaving the women behind to tend to children and the elderly. The tension between the army and villagers grow when the French demand access to their rice crop. The village resistance ends in violence and uproar because rice is not only essential but also sacred to the village.
During World War II, Diatta is a Senegalese student serving as a sergeant as his country fights alongside the French, even though that same nation raided his village and killed much of his family years earlier. Then, after finishing their duty, Diatta and fellow soldiers are interned at a French camp in Dakar, presumably to be paid for their services. However, their stay is long and the treatment brutal, causing the worldly Diatta to take action against his oppressive captors.