A film Review of Xala
Osmane Sembene’s radiant and hilarious Xala opens in New York in the form of animal farm in African independence. The film is both a fable and satire with greatest fineness as well as delicacy. The Senegalese writer, Mr.Sembene is also a director in the film and has tried to set out a clear portrait of complex and conflicting set of traditions, frustrations as well as inspirations of a common culture that has been knocked by colonialism and has distorted itself as a new thing whilst climbing out. The director sets the fable among the new businessmen. The story reveals the downfall of one of the major pillars of the whole chamber renowned as El Hadji. He wears his corruption actions as flaring innocence and runs an import business in town. It is through the story of Hadji that the author of the film is able to show impotence among African officials after independence.
Xala seems to be an excellent movie in criticizing a government full of corrupt officials. The movie does that through a wide and clear method that makes the entire audience enjoy. In most cases, only a few people have developed creativity in making comedies from such subjects especially in criticizing wrong doings by government officials. It is clear that some of the humor developed by Mr. Sembene can go over many of the American heads, but the fact is that the film is worth the chance to watch. Considering the fact that the film was initially written in the 1970s, and then it can be defined as a surprisingly open discussion of both male and female societal, sexual as well as marital relationships during the post-colonial days across Senegal. That seems to be a dark satire and a harsh parable defining a clash between old as well as traditional African methods and new and post-colonial Westernized ways. It has become clear that it is a film that touches on societal issues almost across the whole world. It touches on major themes including sexuality, business, societal levels, and corruption, religion, language and gender roles against new ideas and questions whether or not former colony is free from the former occupiers. In my personal opinion, I have only read little concerning African literature, but I am currently watching this film more than twice a month. This film is becoming an interesting peek in discovering the areas of the world that I have little knowledge about.
Perhaps, enjoyment of the film may have emerged from the fact that I am not used to reading African literature and this comes as a new experience and the realization that there are flawed governments out there. This comes as a satire, but someone should struggle to understand finer points in the director’s argument. This is all about colonialism as well as the character of the upper class after independence. The film has been developed openly and brilliantly through a scene whereby the main character argues with his members in the chamber of commerce. He is labeled a strong colonialist. However, the protagonist introduces a motion that he should be given a chance to communicate in Wolof instead of French. However, he is blocked by the chamber on the fact that the official language is French. Xala continuously attacks the upper class as well as the class divide. Language appears to be an issue here since some officials are willing to be speaking in their languages of interest rather than speaking in an official language. Mr. Sembene has used clear satire in the entire film to bring out the major themes to the audience.
However, the film’s problem seems to be caused by the techniques used by the director. Perhaps one may indicate that the whole issue of techniques used in the film could have been due to the technological era when the film was being produced. That can also be associated with a small budget set by the director of the film. It is vital to indicate that some of the scenes and performances seem excellent and especially Thierno Leye playing El Hadji. On his part, he becomes stressed, exacerbated and discourages as the film moves on. From a viewer’s opinion, it is interesting to watch his stature since he grows smaller than before. However, some of the characters in the film seem to be a little dry and evidently stilted. They are coming off like they are only reading their lines more than they are engaging in actions. From the understanding, it is clear that even amateur actors have the capability to put effective performances through transition shots, which can be described as too quick or placed in an awkward manner. The film seems to be having long scenes whereby only a little that is vital to the themes of the film happens. These scenes have little dialogue incorporated with only a few, but not sufficient visual cues. Xala can be a bit boring to watch at some moment in time to someone that has not grasped the real themes in the film. Nevertheless, the end of Xala results into an interesting scene whereby El Hadji finds himself being spat upon that has become more than enough in order to make the audience happy.
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Mr. Sembene has tried to introduce the sense of Godardian force in the film through a satiric style. That is reflected in the manner through which the film moves from describing naturalistic scenes into effective schematic illustrations. In other words, the film can be said to consist a simple and rough style that lacks ornamentation. However, one should note that there is a clear shot of Hadji as he descends from a lift and the mirror that splits the image. From a personal opinion, that is to show a split of psyche on his side. It may feel that Sembene thought that he was introducing an arty shot in his film. The acts are obviously primitive and that can be seen as a way of creating the sense that actors in the film are doing their roles. Evidently, the camera watches items in the street in order to show a continual life that exists outside the entire narrative. At some point, the film lacks the savagery required in Godard. Whilst it is evidently blunt in satire, the whole conflict of Europeanism as well as Africanism gives meanings that seem disorganized in nature. That does not go above laughing at the pretensions of the characters as it would be the expectation of every person watching such a film developed around those themes.
In conclusion, describing the film as both fun and boring if fine to me. Watching the film for more than three times has kept me thinking about the entire development of the story and the way Mr. Sembene has developed the film around the evident themes of corruption, sexuality among others. Therefore, the film has the capacity to poke fan as it seems to suggest options to the corrupt elite. However, it has difficulties in moving forward in concrete ways. Most importantly, it has difficulties of scaling above the negative satire as it would be required in most political films of such nature. For an individual watching it the first time, it is vital to be patient while watching in order to grasp the whole idea.