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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Le Mandat' or 'The Money Order')

 

Directed by Ousmane Sembčne
Senegal 1968

 

This second feature by Ousmane Sembčne was the first movie ever made in the Wolof language—a major step toward the realization of the trailblazing Senegalese filmmaker’s dream of creating a cinema by, about, and for Africans. After jobless Ibrahima Dieng receives a money order for 25,000 francs from a nephew who works in Paris, news of his windfall quickly spreads among his neighbors, who flock to him for loans even as he finds his attempts to cash the order stymied in a maze of bureaucracy, and new troubles rain down on his head. One of Sembčne’s most coruscatingly funny and indignant films, Mandabi—an adaptation of a novella by the director himself—is a bitterly ironic depiction of a society scarred by colonialism and plagued by corruption, greed, and poverty.

***

A money order from a relative in Paris throws the life of a Senegalese family man out of order. He deals with corruption, greed, problematic family members, the locals and the changing from his traditional way of living to a more modern one.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 27th, 1968

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Comparison:

New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

  

Distribution New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Spine #1065 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:31:21      1:32:12.818 
Video 1.47:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.81 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,216,442,154 bytes

Feature: 27,758,401,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio French / Wolof  (Dolby Digital 2.0) 

LPCM Audio Wolof 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English (burned-in) English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.47:1

Edition Details:

• New Yorker trailers

DVD Release Date: May 31st, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

 

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,216,442,154 bytes

Feature: 27,758,401,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Conversation from 2020 with author and screenwriter Boubacar Boris Diop and sociologist and feminist activist Marie Angélique Savané (19:25)
Praise Song, a new program about director Ousmane Sembčne featuring outtakes from the 2015 documentary Sembčne! of interviews with author and activist Angela Davis, musician Youssou N’Dour, filmmaker and scholar Manthia Diawara, and many others (15:18)
Tauw, a 1970 short film by Sembčne (26:47)
New English subtitle translation by Sembčne biographer Samba Gadjigo
PLUS: An essay by critic and scholar Tiana Reid, excerpts from a 1969 interview with Sembčne, and a new edition of Sembčne’s 1966 novella The Money Order, on which the film is based


Blu-ray Release Date:
February 16th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (January 2020): Criterion brings Ousmane Sembčne's "Mandabi'' (the first movie ever made in the Wolof language) to Blu-ray, in a package featuring a new 4K restoration. The dual-layered disc sports a maxed-out bitrate, with the film taking up a little over half of the disc size. When compared to the old New Yorker DVD, a lot of improvements are immediately obvious. The DVD's 1.47:1 aspect ratio is now opened up to 1.66:1. This wider frame generally shows more information on the left and right sides of the frame while showing less on the bottom (the top seems untouched). The imagery is exponentially more detailed too, with all kinds of new information now identifiable, thanks to this 4K transfer. Colors are also much more vivid, thanks in part to a quite hefty contrast now allowing a wider spectrum of reds, blues, etc. The yellows that previously gave the film such a warm (hot, even) look, now seem to be more on the whiter side. Blues are now also a tad on the teal side, though thankfully whites don't have the obvious 'teal'-leaning look to This is a well-done Blu-ray transfer by the folks at Criterion, especially for such a lesser-known title.

Criterion presents "Mandabi" in the Wolof language (as mentioned above, the first film to do so). This track seems to faithfully represent the film's original 1.0 mono track, presented here in 24-bit linear PCM. Any complaints about the sound are small and could most likely be attributed to the source material. The film's music is so memorable that it is a shame that I couldn't find any information on who recorded it. From some internet digging, I can assume that the accompanying music is of the Wolof folk sort, featuring the xalam and sabar drums. It is pretty intoxicating, and the rhythms help to drive the narrative throughout the picture. There are optional English subtitles (subtitle translation by Sembčne biographer Samba Gadjigo) on this Region 'Free'
Blu-ray from Criterion.

"Introduction: Aboubakar Sanogo'' features Film and African studies scholar Aboubakar Sanogo (the founder of Carleton University's World Cinema Forum and of the annual African Film Festival of Ottawa). In this 30-minute introduction, Sanogo discusses "Mandabi'' in the context of director Ousmane Sembene's political cinema (connecting the film to "Borom Sarret" among others). This is a well produced piece, with the interview footage overlapping with scenes from the film (and others). This is typical of Criterion's nuanced and well respected 'film-school-on-a-disc' style. "Boubacar Boris Diop and Marie Angélique Savané" is a 20-minute conversation that Diop (novelist, journalist, and screenwriter) has with sociologist and feminist activist, Savané. The two discuss the impact of "Mandabi"'s original release in Africa, as well as the personal and political relevance of Sembčne's many artistic accomplishments. "Tauw'' is a rarely seen 1970 short film by Sembčne. It is based on the director's own short stories and focuses on youth unemployment in Dakar. The film features hard-coded subtitles. "Praise Song" is an interesting assemblage of interviews. In 2015, Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo released the acclaimed feature documentary "Sembene!" , on the life and career of Ousmane Sembene. In this 15-minute documentary, the filmmakers have assembled footage from interviews that were not included in the original film, including musician Youssou N'Dour, activist and author Angela Davis, author NgUgi wa Thiong'o, filmmaker Clarence Delgado, and filmmaker and scholar Manthia Diawara. This is well-worth your time. The talking-heads here discuss many deep thoughts regarding the art and politics of Sembene, further cementing the artist as a legend for representing African people's struggles with European colonialism. I could listen to Angela Davis for hours on end, and I look forward to one day hopefully catching "Sembene!", based on these interviews alone. There is also a book featuring an essay by critic and scholar Tiana Reid, excerpts from a 1969 interview with Sembčne, and a new edition of Sembčne’s 1966 novella The Money Order, on which the film is based.

Ousmane Sembčne is such an integral artist, not just to the people of Senegal but to the rest of the world. While giving a voice to various personal and political struggles through novels and film, Sembčne ushered in a world-wide audience. Criterion's 4K
Blu-ray restoration of the filmmaker's second film (or possibly fourth, according to Aboubakar Sanogo in his brilliant 30-minute extra) is something to behold. While the film's plot may seem a little thin, or 'silly', what unfolds is a tense, complex and wonderfully engaging piece of work. The extras are scholarly but not at all dry, with all contributors clearly sharing a passion for the film, and filmmaker. I would definitely recommend this Blu-ray to any
who appreciate world cinema.

Colin Zavitz

 


New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 
Box Cover

  

  

Distribution New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Spine #1065 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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