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113 Ratings


Directed by Ousmane Sembène
Senegal, 1977


The Ceddo try to preserve their traditional African culture against the onslaught of Islam, Christianity, and the slave trade. When King Demba War sides with the Muslims, the Ceddo kidnap his daughter, Princess Dior Yacine, to protest their forcible conversion to Islam.

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Ceddo Directed by Ousmane Sembène

Critics reviews

In Ousmane Sembène’s quietly majestic miniaturist epic, the scope is as ambitious as the storytelling is compact, the pageantry stark, the images direct. The format is declamatory griot theatre, thus the filmmaker’s most African effort, multiple meanings imbued into actions (a jug smashed before a court meeting) and words (“If the lizard teases the turkey, it’s because there’s a tree nearby”).
August 27, 2008
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For Sembène, the Ceddo embody the resistance of a culture and a traditional way of life to the encroachments of Islam, Christianity and colonialism. This magnificent film is a comparable act of resistance, an attempt to write a segment of history for Africans and in African terms. It is a work of great organisational and thematic complexity, beautifully staged, mainly in depth, and possessing extraordinary kinesic grace and rhythmic control.
January 01, 1982
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[Sembene] relishes the public debate, always a highlight of his films, and the typing of individuals into champions allows him to utilize his beautiful but amateur actors to their full extent. Sembene, with wondrous simplicity, achieves an operatic orchestration of raw forces similar to Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky and Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.
February 20, 1978

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