Awa, a 15 year old schoolgirl, is happily living her teenage years alongside her twin brother Adama who dreams of Europe. When their grandmother dies, her aunt Fatou and her uncle Atoumane promise to marry in order to preserve the family union.
Xale is the latest International Feature submission for Senegal. Taking place in the city of Dakar, director Moussa Sene Absa has created a film spanning ten years focusing on four characters, all with different dreams and goals.
Awa is a 15 year old girl who attends school and helps her aunt Fatou at her hair salon after her classes are over. Awa’s twin brother and best friend Adama dreams of leaving behind the sandy streets of his town to go to Paris to start earning more money and to start a career.
When Awa’s grandmother passes away, she enforces Fatou and Awa’s uncle Atoumane to marry as that was her brother’s dying wish. Fatou is in love with another man and wants nothing to do with Atoumane. As Fatou constantly refuses Atoumane’s demands and needs, he assaults her terribly one night. And consequently since Fatou refuses to consummate the marriage, he commits an atrocious act towards Awa which will forever change her life.
Director Absa has created a gorgeous film right in the heart of Dakar. Not only has he created captivating characters but he’s added in interludes of singing and dancing amongst a choir of spirits who seem to be watching these four character’s every move. He’s able to interweave the stories of these family members perfectly, adding dimensions to each character making them all interesting and unique. “What had to happen has happened.” Awa is a character of strength and resilience. After having to endure the most horrible act possible towards a human, she’s been able to create a life around it. A life that she’s super proud of. A life that is beautiful to have watched. As most people in her circumstances would collapse, Awa feels free no matter what the future has to bring. Nothing can trouble her anymore.