21 December 2021

Mansour Sora Wade's Fary l'ânesse (1987)

Les Contes d'Amadou Koumba is a collection of nineteen tales from Senegal and other African countries which were first gathered in book form in 1947. They were transcribed and translated from the original wolof into French by Birago Diop from the tales by the griot Amadou, the son of Koumba. 'Fari l'anesse' is one of them, which Diop describes as a story about a donkey which metamorphoses into a beautiful woman in order to live in a place not devastated by famine. There are variations on the theme, one telling of a king who wants to marry a woman with no imperfections. It is generally seen as a story with a moral: man's search for perfection can lead to great disapointment.

In Mansour Sora Wade's twenty-minute film, in wolof, wealthy village peasant Serigne Ibra (Mame Ndoumbé Diop) seeks to marry a young woman who has no imperfecctions, not even a scar. Eventually the woman, Fary (Dienaba Diallo), appears and Ibra marries her. She makes frequent trips outside the village and a curious Moor follows her and discovers the secret: she has gone to join her fellow donkeys, and changes back into one when with them. The Moor returns to the village and the story spreads around, making Ibra the laughing stock of the village until he discovers the truth for himself.

No comments: