Release dateJuly 1975 (1975-07) (Moscow Film Festival) WriterOusmane Sembene (novel), Ousmane Sembene (screenplay) Initial releaseOctober 1, 1975 (New York City) CharactersModu, El Hadjis chauffeur, El Hadji Aboucader Beye CastThierno Leye (Hadji Aboucader Beye), Myriam Niang (Rama (as Miriam Niang)), Seune Samb (Adja Assatu, Beye's wife), Fatim Diagne (Saleslady / Secretary), Younouss Seye (Aram, Second Wife) Similar moviesRelated Ousmane Sembene movies
Xala 1975 ousmane sembene
Xala ([ˈxala], Wolof for "temporary sexual impotence") is a 1975 Senegalese film directed by Ousmane Sembène. It is an adaptation of Sembène's 1973 novel of the same name. The film depicts El Hadji, a businessman in Senegal, who is cursed with crippling erectile dysfunction upon the day of his marriage to his third wife. The film satirizes the corruption in African post-independence governments; El Hadji's impotence symbolizes the failure of such governments to be useful at all.
El Hadji Abdoukader Beye, a Senegalese businessman, takes on a third wife, thereby demonstrating his social and economic success. On the wedding night he discovers that he is incapable of consummating the marriage; he has become impotent. At the beginning, he suspects that one or both of his first two wives have put the spell on him, without realizing that he walks by the true guilty party every day (beggars and people he stole from). The film criticizes the African leaders' attitude after Independence, underlining their greed and their inability to step away from foreign influences.
El Hadji Abdoukader Beye, a Senegalese businessman
Rama, Beye's daughter with his first wife
Adja Awa Astou, Beye's first wife
Oumi Ndoye, the second wife
Ngoné, the third wife
Modu, El Hadji’s chauffeur
Sérigne Mada, a marabout
The president of the chamber of commerce
Dupont-Durand, the president’s chaperone
Scholar Aaron Mushengyezi writes: "I posit that in Xala, he evokes two problematic binary oppositions: between the corruption and decadence of foreign influence and the purity and morality of African tradition, the former represented as 'corrupting' and the latter 'redemptive'; and between strong, revolutionary 'masculine' women and villainous, weak, 'feminine' men."
Another scholarly perspective is from Harriet D. Lyons: "I shall argue that in Sembene's work the "covertness" of the folk material takes the form of suppression of detail combined with the retention of essential values. Sembene is thereby able to use folk elements in such a way as to give the work political implications that go well beyond the preservation and/or revival of a local tradition. One can, therefore, examine the folk elements of Xala without fear of consigning yet another expression of African creativity to the museum of primitive art."
The film was entered into the 9th Moscow International Film Festival.
Festival Internacional de Cine de Karlovy Vary 1976
The film ranked #83 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010.