BOOKS/FILMS/AUTHORS--USEM4a--1998

Mandabi by Sembene Ousmane

One can't help but to feel sorry for Ibrahima in Mandabi. Out of all his friends, he was the one who seemed most behind. The idea of being most behind is similar to Henry Adams' theory of where his education will be in the 20th century.

I could completely relate to the old man. I lost my green card in India when I was visiting my grandparents. Although I am educated I had to go through a lot of trouble. The government officers treated me the same way they treated the old man. They gave me blunt answers and were as unhelpful as possible. When I went to the embassy, the officer told me to make a police complaint and then come back. When I went back the next day they told me to come before 7:00 a.m. the next day. The next day they gave me a form and I had to go back home because it was past 7:00 by the time I filled out the form. The following day I went there with a draft of 5015 rupees. I was sent back because the officer had given me the wrong information, the draft was supposed to be 5035 rupees. I continued these unnecessary trips for two weeks. India has had independence from British rule for 50 years now. I wonder if we have made any progress at all. I think that I would have been treated the same under British rule, if not better. If that is the case, then was gaining independence that necessary?

The ability to communicate with, function among and understand others who have different values or ways of life are important skills. Ibrahima Dieng, in the movie Mandabi, demonstrates the type of person who lacks these skills and therefore has trouble living his life in a society that is steadily becoming much different than his own.