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"A Kafkaesque tale of one man's increasingly desperate attempts to achieve the dream of solvency."
MANDABI (The Money Order) (SENEGAL) 1968 Drama
Director : Ousmane Sembéne
Starring : Makhouredia Gueye Ynousse N'Diaye
1 hr 32 min
Neorealism was born in postwar Italy. By the mid-1950s, however, its greatest examples were made abroad. “Mandabi” (“The Money Order”), the second feature film by the dean of West African filmmakers Ousmane Sembène (1923-2007), is one. Filmed with a cast of nonprofessionals on the streets of Dakar, Senegal, it is a mordant fable of good fortune gone bad. .
“Stop killing us with hope,” exclaims one of the two wives of the movie’s dignified yet hapless protagonist Ibrahima, a devout Muslim who hasn’t worked in four years. The postman just told them that, like a bolt out of the blue, a money order had arrived from Ibrahima’s nephew in Paris.
News travels fast. Needy neighbours, not to mention the local imam, arrive with their hands out. Meanwhile, Ibrahima learns that in order to cash the money order, he must have an identity card, and to get an identity card, he needs a birth certificate, and to obtain a birth certificate, he must have a friend in court — not to mention a photograph and the money to get one. Being illiterate, Ibrahima will also require someone to explain every procedure. Once the command center for France’s African colonies, Dakar has no shortage of bureaucrats.
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