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Mandabi (1968)

 |  Drama  |  26 March 1970 (USA)
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A money order from a relative in Paris throws the life of a Senegalese family man out of order. He deals with corruption, greed, problematic family members, the locals and the changing from... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Makhouredia Gueye ...
Ibrahim Dieng
Ynousse N'Diaye ...
1st Wife
Isseu Niang ...
2nd Wife
Serigne N'Diayes ...
Serigne Sow ...
Mustapha Ture ...
Shop Keeper
Farba Sarr ...
Moudoun Faye ...
Mouss Diouf ...
Christoph Colomb ...
Water Seller
Thérèse Bas ...
Dieng's Sister
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mamadou Cisoko


A money order from a relative in Paris throws the life of a Senegalese family man out of order. He deals with corruption, greed, problematic family members, the locals and the changing from his traditional way of living to a more modern one. Written by Brad Yasuda <>

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bureaucracy | See All (1) »









Release Date:

26 March 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Money Order  »

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| (Wolof)

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User Reviews

Modest Film of Post-Colonial Senegal
9 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ousmane Sembene's Mandabi traces the descent of a poor Senegalese Muslim who, upon trying to cash a money-order at his village post office, somehow finds himself pitted against overwhelming bureaucratic and societal forces. The protagonist, Ibrahim (Makhouredia Gueye, unassuming and comically dignified), is a lazy and vain but fundamentally decent man, an illiterate villager whose unexpected windfall becomes the catalyst of his downfall - the means by which this simple, more-or-less honest, foible-ridden individual comes face-to-face with the indifference, the corruption of the modern world. His story takes on the quality of a fable, a slight, at times comic one. Sembene, an observer of human nature, keeps his characters at arms-length, and by watching them carefully from this middle-distance is able to convey their basic equality as creatures trying to survive in a confusing, unfair world. It also happens that this mid-range staging is perfect for creating a deliberate, unobtrusive sense of comedy, of human folly gently revealed. The film is, at the same time, a window upon the culture of post-colonial Senegal, a world that seems poised uneasily between tradition (village life; Islam) and modernity (bureaucracy; crime; money-grubbing). There's no question that Sembene is on the side of the little people - he may chide Ibrahim for letting his wives run his life, for being irresponsible with money (he borrows on the money-order before it's cashed), but he also applauds him for his doggedness and faith, the things that poor people always have to lean on. A modest film but a wise one (despite a slightly forced denouement).

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