What’s up! I’m Marlon, and this is Ulven Reviews: movies and series from all over the world.

Today let’s talk about the Senegalese Comedy Xala, directed by Ousmane Sembène.



After the recently acquired independence, Senegal designates local black businessmen to their Chamber of Commerce. However, they keep the corrupt practices of their former colonizers, filling their pockets while leaving the population in poverty.

One of these men is El Hadji (played by Thierno Leye), who uses the fortune of his corruption to get a third wife, and on his wedding night, he finds out that he has a Xala, a curse that makes him impotent.


After the recently acquired independence, Senegal designates local black businessmen to their Chamber of Commerce. However, they keep the corrupt practices of their former colonizers, filling their pockets while leaving the population in poverty.

One of these men is El Hadji (played by Thierno Leye), who uses the fortune of his corruption to get a third wife, and on his wedding night, he finds out that he has a Xala, a curse that makes him impotent.


Xala is a satire. It has its funny moments but is not crazily funny. It’s not the type of movie you’re gonna laugh hysterically for the whole duration. The funniest thing about it is the satirical, ludicrous situation, but I think it could be funnier it’s a comedy after all.

Regardless, it’s a smart movie, and it’s realistic in some of its portrayal of the bourgeoisie. A good example is when El Hadji asks for a patrol car to come pick up the “human rubbish” from around his store.

By “human rubbish” he was meaning all sorts of beggars and street artists. People he judges undeserving and dirty, the undesirable. These people were beggars, but that’s how the bourgeoisie treats all working-class people, like ourselves.

If you are watching this video, there is a 99% chance that you are treated like garbage by your bourgeoisie. At most, you are disposable labor ready to be discarded in the name of a larger margin of profit.

This imbalance of power is a common theme in the works of Ousmane Sembène, as we’ve seen with Ceddo, and that makes me really excited to watch his whole filmography.

Another similarity with Ceddo is the slow pace. Xala is very slow-paced, sometimes even boring, and sometimes scenes drag for too long, like cars… arriving at the wedding… slowly…

Despite this little detail, the story is coherent, rewarding, and compelling enough to keep us watching until the end. There was a moment in the last act, leading to the final scene, where everything becomes a confusing mess, but you were only a few minutes, nothing major.

Then I got a comment on the last scene. I won’t spoil it, but I have to say it was fucking disgusting. I almost felt sick. An IMDb synopsis describes it as scatological, I thought scatology involved sh*t, there’s nothing about sh*t in this ending, but I guess I was wrong about scatology involving sh*t.

Symbolically, it was a good ending, because it was somewhat rewarding, and, at the same time, wrapped the movie up very neatly.

The film had some nice characters, like the first and second wives of El Hadji, but I felt it was much more about class representation than characters as individuals, and I like it like that.

The acting, though, is not the best, but it doesn’t have anything atrocious, as we’ve seen with Ceddo. There was some really bad acting in Ceddo that is not present in Xala.

I would love to talk more about the movie’s appearance, but I watched the movie in some really awful quality. I tried to find it with better quality but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even find some physical copy to buy, so I guess I’ll have to leave it like that.

The score was pretty decent. I think it matched the overall tone of the movie, it’s very upbeat music, I think it was perfect, really.


Xala is a compelling and mildly cathartic satire. It’s slow and becomes a confusing mess by the end, but the overall was positive. I’ll give Xala 7 Moons!

That’s it for now. Once again, I encourage you to like, subscribe, comment, and share it with friends, acquaintances, and enemies. Some suggested videos will appear on the screen in a bit, you might give those ones some attention to, if you like.

Thanks for watching see you in the next video.

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