It is the dawn of Senegal's independence from France, but as the citizens celebrate in the streets we soon become aware that only the faces have changed. White money still controls the ... See full summary »
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Marie Augustine Diatta,
Mame Ndoumbé Diop
It is the dawn of Senegal's independence from France, but as the citizens celebrate in the streets we soon become aware that only the faces have changed. White money still controls the government. One official, Aboucader Beye, known by the title "El Hadji," takes advantage of some of that money to marry his third wife, to the sorrow and chagrin of his first two wives and the resentment of his nationalist daughter. But he discovers on his wedding night that he has been struck with a "xala," a curse of impotence. El Hadji goes to comic lengths to find the cause and remove the xala, resulting in a scathing satirical ending. Written by
By making "Xala", Ousmane Sembène, Senegalese cinema's maestro has created a masterpiece.
It was in 1963 that seeds of filmmaking were sown in Ousmane Sembène's mind when he finished a short course on cinema in Moscow. For a long time his contribution to the field of art and culture was known through his films. However, it must be noted that his contribution to the field of literature has been equally outstanding. Senegalse film "Xala" is based on one of his own books. Watching this film, one is constantly drawn to the conclusion that justice has been done to both works of art. As a director, Sembène made full use of all minor as well as major incidents described in his book to depict a nation where some corrupt as well as influential politicians are shown to make merry while ignoring the plight of ordinary, poor Senegalese people who find it difficult to come out of 'vicious circle' of poverty. Apart from his scathing assault on rampant corruption which unnerved Senegalese people immediately after their country's independence from France, Sembène directed all his anger at two principal scourges : cultural alienation and economic impotence. Although "Xala" has been classified as a comedy by many film critics, its political message cannot be overlooked. It is the reading of this message which would enable us to comprehend why the fortunes of some African countries were used by their leaders to further their own cause.
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