Xala (1974)

Sembene's savage and hilarious satire of the modern African bourgeoisie was heavily censored in Senegal. Forsaking the more obvious (and politically acceptable) targets of European exploitation and racism, Semb6ne here zeroes in on a far touchier subject: the entire blackfacing of white colonial policies after independence was granted. The hero of the film is a self-satisfied, westernized Senegalese businessman who is suddenly struck down with the xala, an ancient Senegalese curse rendering him impotent. His vain search for a cure becomes a metaphor for the impossibility of Africans achieving liberation through dependence on western technology and bureaucratic structures. In French with English subtitle,

Critical Works

See also Xala (book)

Altheer, David. "Xala." Drum (Lagos) Dec 1977: 22

Arbois, Janick. "Xala." Télérama 10 March 1976: 82.

Bâ, A J. "Xala, Ceddo Et les autres..." Le Soleil 4 July 1984: 3.

Bayo, Ogunjimi. "Ritual Archetypes: Ousmane's Aesthetic Medium in Xala." Ufahamu vol.14 n.3 (1985) : 128-138.

Bestman, Martin T. "L'univers de Xala." Asemka 5 (1979): 51-62.

Bestman, Martin T. "L'univers de Xala." L’Afrique Littéraire et Artistique 48 (1978): 39-48.

Barre, Ruth. "Xala, le Cyclope d'Ousmane Sembene." Le Soleil 27 Feb. 1975: 11.

Dalmeida, Irene. "Xala de Sembene Ousmane." Calabar Studies in Modern Languages vol.1 n.1 (1977): 64-68.

Delmas, Jean. "Xala." Jeune Cinéma. n.93 March 1976: 30-32.

Dubroux, Daniele. "Exhibition (Xala)." Cahiers du Cinéma n.266-267, May 1976 : 72-74.

Eder, Richard. "Film Festival: Cutting, Radiant Xala." New York Times 1 Oct. 1975: 62.

Fisher, Lucy. "Xala: Astudy in Black Humor." Millennium 7-9 (1980): 165-172.

Forbes, Jili. "Xala." Monthly Film Bulletin vol.33 n.515 (1976): 260-261.

Gabriel, Teshome H. "Xala: a Cinema of Wax and Gold." Présence Africaine 116 (1980): 202-214.

Ghali, Noureddine. "Xala, histoire symbolique d’une déchéance." Cinéma 76 n.208, April 1976 : 95

Gross, Linda. "Africa's Xala and Sambizanga." Los Angeles Times 23 Sept. 1977, sec. IV: 14-15.

Harrow, Kenneth. "Sembene Ousmane's Xala; The Use of Film and Novel as Revolutionary Weapon." Studies in Twentieth Century Literature vol.4 n.2 (1980): 177-188.

Huannou, Adrien. "Xala: Une satire caustique de la société bourgeoise sénégalaise." Présence Africaine 103 (1977): 145-157.

Ijere, Muriel. "La condition féminine dans Xala de Sembene Ousmane." Revue de Littérature et Esthétique Negro Africaine 8 (1988): 36-45.

Lyons, Harriet D. "The Uses of Ritual in Sembene's Xala." Canadian Journal of African Studies vol.18 n.2 (1984): 319-329.

Ngara, John. "Xala, an Allegory on Celluloid." Africa n.64, Dec.(1976): 51.

Pfaff, Francoise. "Three Faces of Africa: Women in Xala." Jump Cut 27 (1982): 27-31.

Sagot Duvauroux, Jean-Louis. "Xala ou les impuissants perdent le pouvoir." La Nouvelle Critique 94 (1976): 32-34.

Serceau, Michel. "Xala: Une fable de la bourgeoisie africaine." Cinémaction 34 (1985): 46-50.

Serre, Olivier. "Xala." Téléciné n.207, April 1976: 24.

Turvey, Gerry. "Xala and the Curse of Neo-Colonialism." Screen vol.26 n.3-4 (1985): 75-87.

Winster, Archer. "Xala: a Senegalese Fable." New York Post 6 Oct. 1975: 23.

Bleicher, Thomas. “Filmische Literatur und literarischer Film: Peter Handkes Erzählung 'Die linkshändige Frau' und Sembène Ousmanes Film Xala als Paradigmata neuer Kunstform.” Komparatistische Hefte 1982: 119-137.

Bolognesi, Valentina “ ‘Xala’ o l'universo maschile rovesciato.” Acme: Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell'Università degli Studi di Milano 1998 Jan-Apr; 51 (1): 247-56.

Mowitt, John “Sembène Ousmane's ‘Xala’: Postcoloniality and Foreign Film Languages.” Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies (Jan-May 1993) 31: 73-95.

Mulvey, Laura “‘Xala’, Ousmane Sembene (1974): The Carapace That Failed.” Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies. (Jan-May 1993): 31; 49-71.

Mushengyezi, Aaron. “Reimaging Gender and African Tradition? Ousmane Sembène's Xala Revisited.” Africa Today Fall 2004: 47-62.

Ojo, S. Ade. “Le ‘Xala’ dans Xala de Sembène Ousmane.” Ethiopiques 1988: 185-204.

Onyeoziri, Nne Gloria “Revisiting the 'Roman de la Désillusion': A Semiotic and Cultural Reading of Ousmane Sembène's ‘Xala.’” Francophone Post-Colonial Cultures. 2003:
102-13.

Povey, John. Rev. of Ousmane Sembene’s “Xala” by Clive Wake. African Arts Vol. 10, No. 4 (Jul. 1977): 79-80.

Radithalo, Sam. “Beggar's Description: 'Xala,' the Prophetic Voice and the Post-Independent African State.” English in Africa (Oct. 2005):169-84.


Scene from Xala