Thursday, October 14, 2010

Moolaadé (2004)

Director: Ousmane Sembene. Cast: Fatoumata Coulibaly, Maimouna Hélène Diarra, Salimata Traoré. 124 min. Senegal/France/Burkina Faso/Cameroon/Morocco/Tunisia.

Simple story in a small Burkina Faso village with incredibly amateur performances and idiot-proof dialogue, but since the subject is "female circumcision", without depicting anything gory, this film will be etched in your mind for quite awhile. Even the movie's symbolism is simple: at a time when batteries for transistor radios are as precious as daily bread, religious elders (mostly men) destroy radios as the source of knowledge at the foot of the village mosque, to keep female avoidance of the ghastly ritual at bay. Another movie guaranteed to spark discussions among friends.

(Trivia: Ousmane Sembene, the movie's 81-year old Senegalese writer/director, known as the first African director to receive international recognition, died three years after "Moolaade", his last full-feature.)

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