• January 22, 2021 through February 4, 2021
New Restoration

Momentously beautiful … Simple, comic, heartbreaking.”

Joseph Morgenstern, Newsweek

The sophomore feature of Ousmane Sembène, father of African cinema,” was the first film made entirely in his native Wolof language. An acerbic, wry tale of poverty, greed, corruption, and human folly, it centres on Ibrahima Dieng (Makhourédia Guèye), an unemployed father of seven, husband of two, living in a small Muslim community in Dakar. When he receives an unexpected money order from a nephew in Paris, news of his impending (and exaggerated) fortune summons villagers to his door to solicit loans and repayments. But attempts at cashing the order are frustrated by a stream of bureaucratic red tape, with each rapacious step sinking Dieng further into debt and desperation. Adapted from the director’s own 1966 novella (Sembène was an esteemed literary figure before becoming African film’s preeminent auteur), this darkly comic satire is exemplary of the master’s incisive, indigenous perspective on postcolonial Senegalese society, and the legacies of European oppression still rooted in it. Special Jury Prize, Venice 1968. 

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A richly comic and multi-textual first cousin to Bicycle Thieves.”

J. Hoberman

A razory satire … Almost Sturges-like mania.”

Scott Foundas, IndieWire