Xala (Senegal: 1975)


Ousmane Sembène

Cast list

Theirno Leye... Hadji Aboucader Beye
Myriam Niang... Rama (as Miriam Niang)
Seune Samb... Adja Assatu, Beye’s Wife
Fatim Diagne... Saleslady/Secretary
Younouss Seye... Aram, Second Wife
Mustapha Ture... The Client (as Moustapha Toure)
Iliamane Sagna... Modu, Dirver
Dieynaba Nianh... La Badiene
Farba Sarr... Businessman
Mamadou Sarr... Businessman
Makhouredia Gueye... Minister Kebe
Abdoulaye Seck... Businessman
Douta Seck... Gorgui


Writing (novel): Ousmane Sembène
Writing (screenplay): Ousmane Sembène
Produced by: Paulin Vieyra
Music: Samba Diabara Samb
Cinematography: Georges Caristan, Orlando L. López, Seydina D. Saye, Farba Seck


This film takes place after Senegal's independence from France, when it appeared that, at long last, power would shift from the French conquerors to the Senegalese people themselves. There is a sense of joy in the air and people celebrate outside. Yet in the local chamber of commerce, something very different occurs. Although the white colonizers are leaving their positions, they will not go without making a statement: every African businessmen who replaces them receives a case full of bribe money.

Aboucader Beye or "El Hadji" is one of these businessmen. He gains money in corrupt ways on the black market, and uses his "earnings" to pay for a marriage to a third wife. Yet on his wedding night, El Hadji finds that he is impotent, and the film's title itself references this moment of shame--a "xala" is a curse of impotence. Throughout the film, he tries desperately, and sometimes humorously (to the audience, at least), to find a cure.

Despite its comic and satirical moments, Xala is a film with serious commentary about corruption as a result and a continuation of European colonialism. Colonialism may be over officially and on paper, but it has created an economic environment that lingers and stifles Senegal's growth.


 Dennis Schwartz, Xala: Takes a Cynical Look at the Bourgeoisie Aping their Former RulersOzus' World Movie Reviews (film review website)

GB, XalaTime Out (online news and entertainment network)

Richard Eder, Film Festival: Cutting, Radiant 'Xala'The New York Times (newspaper)

Roger Ebert, XalaRoberEbert.com (film review website)

SORENSEN, ELI PARK. "Naturalism And Temporality In Ousmane Sembène's Xala." Research In African Literatures41.2 (2010): 222-243. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.

Other movies from Senegal made in

Title Country Year Director More infos
La Legende de Sandale-Man Senegal 2015 Ayina Thiam and Jean-Jacques Toue
Sandale-man 2: Arc du Révolutionnaire Senegal 2017 Ayina Thiam
Félicité Congo, Senegal 2017 Alain Gomis
Karmen Geï Senegal 2001 Joseph, Gaï Ramaka
Aujourd’hui (Tey) Senegal 2012 Alain Gomis
L’Afrance Senegal 2001 Alain Gomis
Maman(s) Senegal 2017 Maïmouna Doucouré
100 % DAKAR – more than art Senegal 2014 Sandra Krampelhuber
Femmes aux yeux ouverts Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal 1994 Anne-Laure Folly
Puk Nini Senegal 1996 Fanta Régina Nacro
Tauw Senegal 1970 Ousmane Sembène
Omar Gatlato Algeria, Senegal 1970 Merzak Allouache
La Passante Senegal 1972 Safi Faye
Fad’jal Senegal 1980 Safi Faye
Man Sa Yay Senegal 1980 Safi Faye
3 ans 5 mois Senegal 1989 Safi Faye
Mossane Senegal 1996 Safi Faye
Les Feux de Mansaré Senegal 2008 Mansour Sora Wade
Fary l’ânesse Senegal 1989 Mansour Sora Wade
Picc Mi Senegal 1992 Mansour Sora Wade
Aida Souka Senegal 1993 Mansour Sora Wade
Teranga Blues Senegal 2007 Mousa Sene Absa
Tableau Ferraille Senegal 1997 Moussa Sene Absa
Madame Brouette Senegal 2002 Moussa Sene Absa
Ken Bugul Senegal 1990 Moussa Sene Absa
Ca Twist à Popenguine Senegal 1994 Moussa Sene Absa
Borom Sarret (The Wagoner) Senegal 1963 Ousmane Sembène
Niaye Senegal 1964 Ousmane Sembène
Camp de Thiaroye Senegal 1988 Ousmane Sembène, Thierno Faty Sow
Kaddu Beykat Senegal 1976 Safi Faye
Faat Kiné Senegal 2001 Ousmane Sembène
Moolaadé Senegal 2004 Ousmane Sembène
La Noire De… Senegal 1966 Ousmane Sembène
Mandabi Senegal 1968 Ousmane Sembène
Touki Bouki Senegal 1973 Djibril Diop Mambéty
Little Senegal Algeria, Senegal 2001 Rachid Bouchareb
Contras City Senegal 1969 Djibril Diop Mambety
Xala Senegal 1975 Ousmane Sembène
Guelwaar Senegal 1992 Ousmene Sembène
Le Prix du Pardon Senegal 2001 Mansour Sora Wade
La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil Senegal 1999 Djibril Diop Mambéty
Ceddo Senegal 1977 Ousmane Sembène
Hyènes Senegal 1992 Djibril Diop Mambéty
Emitai Senegal 1971 Ousmane Sembène
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