Xala (1975)

OUSMANE SEMBENE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5Senegal, 1975.  Filmi Doomireew, Société nationale de cinématographie, Films Domireew, Ste. Me. Production du Senegal.  Screenplay by Ousmane Sembene, based on his novel.  Cinematography by , , .  Produced by .  Music by .  Film Editing by .  

Ousmane Sembene pursues the examination of post-colonialism in Senegal once again, this time adding a little humorous satire to the proceedings. Following the explusion of French influence from the government (executed in a wonderfully droll opening sequence), the film focuses on an official who is preparing to marry his third wife, much to the chagrin of his first two spouses and his increasingly politicized daughter. When he arrives at his wedding night with his young bride, he finds he is unable to perform his functions: his having made his women unhappy, not to mention his unethical spending of government funds on his wedding, has brought the curse of the “Xala” on him, which strikes him with permanent impotence. His attempts to cure himself while his colleagues begin to investigate his financial ethics is the process of this beautifully photographed, excellently acted film that plays out in a dry, witty fashion that is highly satisfying.

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