Country: Senegal
Year: 1974
Duration: 128'

El Hadj, a Senegalese businessman in his fifties, takes a third wife, but on his wedding night, he suddenly discovers he is impotent. He thinks that it is a curse, the xala, and goes to various healers, without obtaining any results. The news of his impotence leaks out into his professional circles and marks his social downfall. A group of beggars and a man he had ruined will have the satisfaction of humiliating him. The film is based on Sembène Ousmane's novel of the same title. "Sexual impotence symbolises the political impotence of the new African middle-class" (S. Ousmane).


film director

Ousmane Sembène


& Credits

Director and screenplay: Ousmane Sembène
Director of photography: Georges Caristan.
Sound: El Hadji M'Bow.
Editor: Florence Eymon.
Cast and characters: Thierno Leye (El Hadj Abdou Kader Beye), Seune Samb (la prima moglie), Younousse Seye (la seconda sposa), Makourédia Gueye (il presidente), Myriam Niang (la figlia), Douta Seck (Gorgui, il cieco), Mousthapha Toure (il cliente).
Production company: Les Films Doomireew, Ministère de la Coopération Français, Société Nationale de Cinéma (Sénégal).