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  • A man and two women converse, all wearing traditional Senegalese clothing.
  • Three women talk and walk, all wearing traditional Senegalese clothing.
  • Two women kneel alongside a seated man in a small room.
  • Two men and a woman stand together.

MANDABI

7:35

Saturday, June 8

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(1968, Ousmane Sembène) The Money Order. Illiterate, unemployed, fiftyish Ibrahima Deng suddenly gets a windfall: a money order from his street sweeper nephew in France for 20,000 francs (roughly $100). But as friends, relations and debtors close in, he finds he can’t cash it without an identity card, which requires proof of birth, which… Sembène’s first color film and his first film shot in Wolof is a darkly humorous satire of Kafkaesque bureaucracy and corruption, as Deng concludes “honesty is a sin in this country.” 16mm print courtesy French Cultural Services. Approx. 105 min.

Prints courtesy of the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut Français, thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Reviews

“A richly comic and multi-textual first cousin to Bicycle Thieves.”
– J. Hoberman

“A razory satire that recounts in almost Sturges-like mania.”
– Scott Foundas

“Sembène’s approach is spare, laconic, slightly ironic, and never patronizing.”
The New York Times