Senegalese master Ousmane Sembène unleashed one of his most ingenious, scathing satirical dramas with Xala in 1975. He targets the new bourgeois elite of a recently independent African state, never specifically named in the film, who behave much like their departed colonial masters. El Hadji is a businessman who is cursed with impotence (the literal meaning of the word ‘xala’) on his marriage night. His increasingly desperate efforts to solve this problem uncover escalating bureaucratic absurdities and abject corruption in a lacerating critique of postcolonial power. Showing on 35mm as part of the Kafkaesque Cinema programme.

Screened as part of our partnership with Dr Angelos Koutsourakis at the University of Leeds on his Arts and Humanities Research Council project The Kafkaesque in World Cinema.