Xala (1975) : a close textual analysis
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Citation:Scott, G. (2017). Xala (1975): A close textual analysis. Pūrātoke: Journal of Undergraduate Research in the Creative Arts and Industries, 1(1), 17-25. ISSN: 2538-0133. Auckland, New Zealand : Unitec Institute of Technology. Unitec ePress. Retrieved from: http://www.unitec.ac.nz/epress
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/4031
Xala (1975), a significant film for African cinema, directed by Ousmane Sembene, is a comedic dramatisation of events following Senegal’s (then recent) independence. Sembene focuses two hours of screen time on despising El Hadji, a greedy, corrupt Senegalese businessman involved with unjust negotiations besieging the new government, and his inelegant downfall after being unknowingly cursed with erectile dysfunction by the underprivileged he steps over daily. To retain the status which comes with a Mercedes, three wives and suspect business deals, and to have the ‘Xala’ (curse of impotence) removed, El Hadji must jump through many hoops while the audience grimaces in secondary embarrassment on his behalf. Influenced by both French and African filmmaking styles, Sembene weaves a range of significant signs and symbols into the frame to convey key ideas. Visual poetics, unlike dialogue, speak across language barriers and allow Sembene’s film to reach a wider audience. Whether the viewer enagages with Sembene’s semiotics or uses cultural familiarity to understand these key ideas, a similar conclusion can be reached.
Keywords:Senegalese films, Senegal, Sembène, Ousmane (1923-2007), politics in films, impotence in films, African films, semiotics, film studies
ANZSRC Field of Research:190204 Film and Television
Copyright Holder:Unitec ePress
Copyright Notice:Xala (1975): A close textual analysis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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