The Price of Forgiveness

(Ndeysaan/Le Prix du pardon). This fable of life in a southern Senegalese fishing village conceals a great deal of artistry in the simplicity of its telling. In a locale seemingly cursed by bad weather, fishermen, hemmed in by fog, cannot leave the shore. A witch doctor is summoned, but young Mbanik ignores the spirits; he attempts to conquer the elements and save the village without recourse to the supernatural. His fate, in fact, may rest not with the gods, but with the other villagers, and a jealousy that, as in fables, threatens tragedy. The script shuttles deftly between tribal and individual concerns, underlining human relationships while capturing customs such as storytelling competitions, proverb-laden speech patterns, and ways of celebrating marriage and death. Based on a novel whose origins lie in an ancient Senegalese legend, this engaging and offbeat debut by Mansour Sora Wade also features music by the acclaimed performer Youssou N'Dour.

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