Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Fall 2007 Underground Railroad Film Series begins with XALA by Ousmane Sembene , September 19

The Underground Railroad Film Series
A Cultural Journey to Freedom through the Lens of Black Cinema

presented by the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival

The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center's African American Film Festival showcases films by filmmakers that explore the rich African American culture across the diaspora. “The Underground Railroad Film Series” uses the metaphor of the Underground Railroad to define the movable feast of provocative films shown in a "safe house" - an intimate place where dialogue can flourish and provide an opportunity for community engagement and self- reflection. Join us each month for an evening of thought-provoking film and discussion.

September Safe House Screening

XALA by Ousmane Sembene

Wednesday, September 19, 7:00 PM at Central Cinema (21st and Union Sts)

Suggested donation: $5.00 at the door

This bitingly funny 1974 satire portrays El Hadji, a prosperous, self-satisfied, politically crooked modern businessman who is struck down by the xala (pronounced 'ha-la') - a curse rendering its victim impotent. While he chases after traditional healers and soothsayers on a frantic, often hilarious search for a cure, his impotence becomes a mirror of the powerlessness of young African nations overdependent on technology. Unable to consummate his third (polygamous) marriage, and neglecting his business affairs and political activities as he seeks a cure, his social stature is stripped away, leaving him shamed and humiliated. And while humorous, there is a sympathy in his downfall at the hands of others who are even more corrupt than he is. Xala is a moving and comical look at a man caught up in the corruption of his country and the tribulations of a changing society. French and Wolof with English subtitles.

Join us for Xala and honor the memory of the great Senegalese filmmaker and author Ousmane Sembene, one of the leading figures in the history of post-colonial African literature and arts,who passed away in June 2007. Sembene is widely regarded as the primary force in the development of African cinema. Many of his novels are not available of English translations, but his films have been seen and acclaimed throughout the world. Sembene's novels and films, from his first, Borrom Sarret (1964) to his last, Moolade (2004), deal with the social and psychological effects of colonialism in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as class tension, the African bourgeoisie, and the lives of African women.

" a brilliantly funny, ironic satire about post-colonial Senegal. It upset the government considerably -- 11 cuts were made before it was released in Dakar...No African director has criticised the pretensions and corruption of its rulers more severely than Sembene in Xala, or done it with such quiet hilarity...his most powerful critique of his own society."

~ Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
The original Underground Railroad was a person-to- person network. To find out the locations of each Underground Railroad Film Series screening, join our mailing list!
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