Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
This French-Senegal co-production is based on a story by L.S. Senghor. An out of work Senegalese man, Ibrahim (Makhouredia Gueye), receives a money order by his nephew. Unfortunately, the uncle has no identity card which will enable him to cash the check. He tries to obtain a card, but is stymied because he lacks a birth certificate. In order to get this valuable document, he must have a photograph taken...and on and on and on it goes. Thus begins Ibrahim's nightmarish foray into the honeycomb-like world of African bureaucracy. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Mandabi
Although the film can be criticised for the relative gentleness of its attack, Sembene succeeds in pointing up the divisiveness created by the colonial heritage.
Sembčne's approach is spare, laconic, slightly ironic and never patronizing.
Audience Reviews for Mandabi
[font=Century Gothic]"Mandabi" starts with Ibrahim Dieng(Makhouredia Gueye) being sent a money order for 25,000 francs from his nephew(Mouss Diouf) in Paris. But before he hears about this, his two wives(Ynousse N'Diaye & Isseu Niang) intercept it and use it to get credit for the local store to buy badly needed rice for their family. Even though he is well fed for a change, Ibrahim is still incensed at their duplicity, afraid his neighbors will find out he has money. Before anything else can happen, he goes to the post office to cash the money order but cannot because he does not have an identity card.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Written and directed by Ousmane Sembene, "Mandabi" is a pointed examination of his home country of Senegal.(Not to mention a warning against buying on credit.) In general, the movie is concerned with identity as Ibrahim is on a desperate search to find any way of proving who he is. As he does this, he gets out of the house to get a better look at his surroundings and does not like what he sees(I did not like Ibrahim at first because of how he treated his wives but eventually warmed up to him.) which reflects the movie's pessimistic tone. Ibrahim has not worked for four years and many other people do not either, due to a lack of jobs.(And those that do either work on the margins or rely on criminal enterprises to get them enough to eat.) His nephew went to Paris to find work but the movie does not advise this course of action. In fact, its advice to the people of Senegal is to stay and fight to make their country a better place.[/font]
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