The Price of Forgiveness | Chicago Reader

The Price of Forgiveness

Based on a novel by Mbissane Ngom, this haunting 2001 Senegalese film is set in a fishing village that has become shrouded in a mysterious mist. The son of a recently deceased marabout paddles out to sea in a canoe, fashioned from a large tree on the father's burial site, and the mist lifts, helping him win the hand of a young woman. His boyhood friend, a rival for the woman's affections, is consumed with jealousy and kills him, incurring a moral debt: the widow agrees to marry him but then rebuffs and humiliates him, calling her behavior “the price of your forgiveness.” Director Mansour Sora Wade replicates the discursiveness of African storytelling, mixing the natural and the supernatural while eschewing the tension of conventional drama for a blend of major incident and tiny detail. He succeeds in his stated wish to portray the characters as “contradictory and ambiguous,” as their shifting attitudes mirror the twisting narrative. In Wolof with subtitles. 90 min.

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