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After jobless Ibrahima Dieng receives a money order for 25,000 francs from a nephew who works in Paris, news of his windfall quickly spreads among his neighbors, who flock to him for loans — even as he finds his attempts to cash the order stymied in a maze of bureaucracy, and new troubles rain down on his head.
This second feature by Ousmane Sembène was the first movie ever made in the Wolof language — a major step toward the realization of the trailblazing Senegalese filmmaker’s dream of creating a cinema by, about, and for Africans. One of Sembène’s most coruscatingly funny and indignant films, MANDABI — an adaptation of a novella by the director himself — is a bitterly ironic depiction of a society scarred by colonialism and plagued by corruption, greed, and poverty. New 4K Restoration
“Sembène looks ruefully yet tenderly at the ruses and wiles of the poor, whose desperate struggles — with the authorities and with one another — distract them from political revolt.” —Richard Brody, New Yorker “Sembène's approach is spare, laconic, slightly ironic and never patronizing. Like many good directors, he displays a reticence toward his characters that grants him freedom from explicit moral judgment and allows them a quality of personal wholeness that is perhaps more important to the movies than great performance.” —Roger Greenspun, New York Times