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Xala

Screening on Film
Directed by Ousmane Sembene.
With Thierno Leye, Seune Samb, Miriam Niang.
Senegal, 1974, 35mm, color, 123 min.
Wolof and French with English subtitles.

Zeroing in on the myth of African independence and on the capitulation to white colonial policies by newly empowered black African leaders, this savage and funny satire deals with a self-satisfied, half-Westernized black businessman who is suddenly struck down by the xala—a curse that renders its victim impotent. While he desperately chases after witch doctors and soothsayers in search of a cure, the character’s condition becomes a mirror of the impotence of young African nations that are over-dependent on white technology and bureaucratic structures.

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