Xala (1975) : a close textual analysis

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Authors
Scott, Georgia
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Date
2017-12-21
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Journal Article
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
Senegalese films
Senegal
Sembène, Ousmane (1923-2007)
politics in films
impotence in films
African films
semiotics
film studies
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
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. Unitec ePress, Unitec Institute of Technology. Auckland, New Zealand. ISSN: 2538-0133. Retrieved from: http://www.unitec.ac.nz/epress
Abstract
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.
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Unitec ePress
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Unitec ePress
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Xala (1975): A close textual analysis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand
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