See a Restoration of Sembene's MANDABI for Free!

February 18, 2021 - 8:27am
Posted by Jim Healy


UPDATE (3/9/21): Our licensing period for Mandabi has expired. The movie is now available to watch for subscribers to the Criterion Channel.

Beginning February 18, the Cinematheque is proud to present a new restoration of Mandabi (1968), written and directed by Senegalese filmmaker and author Ousmane Sembene, a major pioneer of African cinema.

MANDABI (Senegal, 1968, 91 min., Wolof & French with English subtitles). The second feature from Sembene, one of African cinema’s foundational artists, is a deceptively simple tale of greed and corruption, as well as a devastating satire of bureaucracy. In Senegal, unemployed  Ibrahima Dieng (Makhouredia Gueye) is the recipient of a 25,000 francs money order from a nephew in Paris. Even though our hero’s attempts to cash the order are consistently thwarted by his community’s bureaucratic elite, that does not stop loan-seeking neighbors from descending upon him. While he is bounced around from one government office to another, his own family’s spending spirals out of control.

Adapting his own short novel, Sembene followed-up his feature debut Black Girl with this bitterly funny and ironic milestone. Available only in inferior viewing copies for decades, we are proud to present Mandabi in a newly restored version available for viewing-at-home for a limited time. In order to watch Mandabi at home for free, send  an email to and simply remember to include MANDABI in the subject line. No further message is necessary.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.