A prosperous Muslim businessman has adopted many Western ways, but he perpetuates the tradition of polygamy by taking a beautiful young woman as his third wife. When a curse strikes him impotent and his economic fortunes begin to collapse, he seeks help from assorted witchdoctors.
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Senegalese Cinema! Some of the acting is a bit stiff, others are excellent, and the production value is minimal, but this is still a fine film. Heck, you try making anything at all in Senegal, it is a miracle they produce films, and very good ones, at that. XALA weaves every level of Senegalese society into its story, from the President, down to beggars and "undesirables". A must for fans of West African cinema.
Not sure what to think about this film. I was emerged into a various range of impressions and feelings during the screening - seems like a unique tale of post-colonial africa... where man is struggling with traditional values... the main character's little empire falls appart because of his selfishness. Shocking...
Great and politically astute critique of the wedlock of development and tradition in a society that eventually reproduces the vices of both. The film is replete with references to language and distorted communication anchored in deep cultural power hierarchies and prejudices. Technological fetishism is symmetrically demolished alongside magic in what is a surgical operation of Senegal's impotence. Essential viewing!
"The meaningful road to African cinema lies in a cinema that draws from the wealth of its cultural and aesthetic traditions. XALA marks and signals a turning point in the development of African cinema in that folk-narrative tradition and cinema acquire a measure of peaceful coexistence." - Teshome H. Gabriel, Jump Cut. While I preferred the book to the film, I have to agree there's a nice balance here.