Mandabi Unclassified 18+
Stunningly restored in 4K, the sagacious second feature from Senegalese author turned filmmaker Ousmane Sembène cements his legacy as the ‘father of African film’.
Ibrahima Dieng is illiterate, unemployed and doesn’t have an identity card. When he receives a money order for 25,000 francs from a nephew working in Paris, his struggles to cash it expose the corrupt, exploitative entanglements of Dakar bureaucracy and postcolonialism in modern Senegal. Already laden with the responsibility of providing for two wives and seven children, he now also finds himself besieged by relatives and neighbours who all want a share of the windfall.
While Sembène’s debut, Black Girl, was spoken in French, his second feature predominantly uses the native language of Senegal’s Wolof people and has the distinction of being the first feature-length film made in an African language. Bathed in vibrant colours and bold, independent and radical in outlook, this neo-realist satire offers pointed commentary on greed, wealth and the awkward comedy of everyday life. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 29th Venice Film Festival, Mandabi is political cinema at its most striking – as relevant today as it was upon its release in 1968.
“Displays a controlled sophistication in the telling that gives it a feeling of almost classic directness and simplicity … Spare, laconic, slightly ironic and never patronizing.” – New York Times
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