Senegalese filmmaker Moussa Sène Absa boldly inflects contemporary melodrama with traditional storytelling modes in this potent, music-filled tale of one woman’s tragedy and transcendence. Intelligent, spirited 15-year-old Awa (Nguissaly Barry) lives happily with her twin brother Adama in the bustling seaside city of Dakar. The two are devoted to each other, though Adama is saving up his money for a dangerous voyage to Europe in search of greater opportunities. When Awa and Adama’s grandmother passes away, her dying wish is that their vivacious aunt Fatou marry her cousin, sullen taxi driver Atoumane. Enraged by Fatou’s constant rejections, Atoumane focuses on young Awa, setting in motion a series of events that will irrevocably shift the direction of Awa’s life. Following his heroine and her family over many years, the filmmaker inventively employs choruses of narrators, who comment upon the action taking place through evocative poetry and song. An enormously engaging and gorgeously stylized drama, Xalé is an electrifying showcase for newcomer Barry.
CAST: Nguissaly Barry, Ibrahima Mbaye Tché, Rokhaya Niang, Mabeye Diol
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