My favourite of the three I've seen is Ceddo from 1977. Maybe setting it in pre-modern times allowed Sembene to use a more simple, classical style. Unfortunately, what I found most memorable in Mandabi and Xala were the awkwardnesses.
― Halfway there but for you, Monday, 26 October 2020 14:30 (eleven months ago) link
Not seen Ceddo but it has a great soundtrack.
― Daniel_Rf, Monday, 26 October 2020 15:48 (eleven months ago) link
Ceddo is really good.
Was Xala awkward as in bad?
― xyzzzz__, Friday, 30 October 2020 08:35 (ten months ago) link
I say "awkward", in that the technical shortcomings were glaring enough to distract from what he was trying to get across. There were shaky tripod pans, mismatched edits, etc. They don't disturb me in Pasolini, but here they just looked like errors. Also, both Xala and Mandabi attempt to have "big endings" where he's using superimposition effects and quick montage, and it seemed really amateurish.
In Ceddo, as I remember it, he just planted the camera and told the story straight. It's likely his budget and technical abilities had both improved by 1977.
― Halfway there but for you, Friday, 30 October 2020 14:19 (ten months ago) link
Funny, I didn't notice glaring technical mistakes other than, yes, a couple mismatched edits.
― Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 October 2020 14:33 (ten months ago) link
Thanks halfway, felt these issues didn't distract but my eye isn't very trained on technique in any of the arts.
― xyzzzz__, Saturday, 31 October 2020 12:10 (ten months ago) link
Nice edition of Mandabi out on Studiocanal. Prob my fave Sembene so far, apart from early short Borom Sarret. Apparently still gets played on Senegalese TV, and I can see how this would be more of a crowd pleaser than Black Girl or Emitai.
Lots of extras but somewhat careless - it comes with a good essay but doesn't attribute the author, an interview with Sembene's son where he compares the movie to Patricia Highsmith and the subtitles say "Patrick Highmsith"...
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 13:53 (two months ago) link
I've now also seen Moolaadé and liked it a lot. When he's shooting in these village/rural environments, he just seems to know where to place the camera for maximum clarity and expressiveness. There's drama just in the layout of the village.
― Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 14:21 (two months ago) link
Also, both Xala and Mandabi attempt to have "big endings" where he's using superimposition effects and quick montage, and it seemed really amateurish.
According to the extras in Mandabi this happened because the guy playing the postman couldn't make it so Sembene had to shoot his speech without him.
― Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 21 July 2021 09:06 (two months ago) link