Original Title: Ceddo
Director: Ousmane Sembène
28.02.2020: This review was first published on 19.06.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.
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Ceddo is a Senegalese film by Ousmane Sembène, in which after the Christian and Muslim invasion of their land, the Ceddo kidnaps a Princess, to pressure the King to let them keep their African traditions and abolish slavery.
World Cup Historic
Senegal, like many other nations in this series, was invaded and colonized by France. In 1960, they declared independence, and in the same year, they founded the Senegalese Football Association.
Senegal only qualified for the World Cup twice, first in 2002 and then, 2018. In their debut, they reached the Quarter-finals and lost to Turkey in extra-time. That edition of the World Cup had the Golden Goal rule, in which the first team to score in extra-time wins.
In the 2018 edition, Senegal had an impressive performance, regardless of the results. Coached by Aliou Cissé, they had a very organized and athletic team that deserved the classification to the Round of 16 much more than Japan.
Japan and Senegal tied in almost every tiebreakers and the Asian country got their classification because of the Fair play points, that take into consideration the yellow and red cards. However, in the last match, Japan and Poland played a disgraceful match that was the complete opposite of fair play. After a satisfactory result for both, they abdicated to attack, finishing the game with only short passes without risking anything.
According to the CIA’s “The World Factbook”, Senegal has a population of Muslim majority, with 95.9% of its population adhering to this faith, while Christianity represents 4.1%, mostly Roman Catholic.
Christianity and Islamism is the chosen religion of more than half of the world’s population, with 31.4% Christians and 23.2% Muslims. The meaning, basically, is that all the other religions and the people with no religious beliefs together represent 45.4% of the global population.
The individual religiosity is usually not the problem. But we have many examples in the past and present of how people use religion as an excuse to gain power and commit abuses.
The hegemony of Christianity and Islamism in the world was consolidated with violence and oppression. Both religions were perpetrators and victims of atrocities throughout history, and pointing that out is not bigotry, it’s recognizing objective reality.
Christians and Muslims are lurking in the region, while the population is sold to slavery. King Demba War (played by Matoura Dia) converts to Islam and decides everyone under his rule, by law, has to do the same.
The common folk, known as the Ceddo, tired of being enslaved and deprived of their own traditions, kidnaps Demba War’s daughter, Princess Dior Yacine (played by Tabata Ndiaye), in the attempt of dissuading the monarch.
Diogomay (played by Ousmane Camara), a Ceddo representative, demands the end of slavery, persecution and the abolition of Islam as an obligation, if the King grants this demands, the Princess shall be freed.
Ousmane Sembène directed and made a cameo in the movie that doesn’t have characters as the main focus, all of them being a tool to make the plot go forward or to serve as a representation of something.
The movie deals with the invasion and subversion of their original costumes, to serve the interests of an elite. In converting the king, this elite, the Muslim leadership, has the whole kingdom for themselves, becoming more powerful than the king himself.
I enjoyed the story, and even though the pace is a little slow, it flows smoothly and has an entertaining narrative throughout the whole duration of almost two hours.
Ceddo was banned in Senegal. The formal basis was the writing of Ceddo with two d’s was considered incorrect by the Senegalese officials, which was probably a fake motive. The most likely reason was because of the critique of Islam.
As I said before, the characters are more representations than actual people, but my favorites were Diogomay as a representative of the Ceddo and Madir Fatim Fall (played by Moustapha Yade), a young man who promised to rescue the princess.
Most of the actors are inexperienced and really bad. As a comparison, there’s a death scene in the awful movie Samurai Cop, and Ceddo has a similar one. I’ll show both here and let you draw your own conclusions.
Almost entirely in Wolof, the way they talk during the gathering is one of the many peculiar things in the movie. It’s full of parables and addressing an intermediary when talking to the people of the higher class. It’s always refreshing to see different things.
The cinematography is pretty basic but has some dramatic zooms in and out, the best aspect of it. What makes the visuals of the film captivating is the production design, especially the Ceddo village, but some of the costumes are also nice.
One thing I didn’t like all that much was the musical score. It didn’t fit the movie at all, it sounded like something taken from a bad children’s comedy movie, not the harsh drama that is Ceddo.
The movie captivated me a lot. There are some obvious problems with the film, especially the acting, but despite that, it’s such a particular and amazing work. I’m giving Ceddo 8 Moons.
That’s it for now. Don’t forget that Neo-Pentecostalism is the greatest threat to Western democracies.