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Marie Augustine Diatta,
Mame Ndoumbé Diop
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Djibril Diop Mambéty
Djibril Diop Mambéty,
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In an African village this is the day when six 4-9-year-old girls are to be 'cut' (the act of female genital mutilation) All children know that the operation is horrible torture and sometimes lethal, and all adults know that some cut women can only give birth by Caesarean section. Two of the girls have drowned themselves in the well to escape the operation. The four other girls seek "magical protection" (moolaadé) by a woman (Colle) who seven years before refused to have her daughter circumcised. Moolaadé is indicated by a coloured rope. But no one would dare step over and fetch the children. Moolaadé can only be revoked by Colle herself. Her husband's relatives persuade him to whip her in public into revoking. Opposite groups of women shout to her to revoke or to be steadfast, but no woman interferes. When Colle is at the wedge of fainting, the merchant takes action and stops the maltreatment. Therefore he is hunted out of the village and, when out of sight, murdered. Written by
Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
This is my first experience watching a film made in Africa. What a wonderful film to begin with! Moolade is one of the best films I have seen in recent times. It is a social commentary on the position of women in many parts of the African continent focusing on female genital mutilation (circumcision) called as "purification". The movie is tightly scripted, full of subtle, thought-provoking observations of the familial and social order in an unnamed African community. The director patiently tells the story of a woman (Colle) who is against female circumcision and offers a protection (Moolade) to four little girls who escape the ritual and seek shelter from her. The men in the community are unable to comprehend or handle her actions and the change it would bring in the community. They see her actions as a threat to the status quo and to the traditions. Ancient or modern, many traditions are based on superstitions and worse yet, are harmful to people. There is absolutely no question that female circumcision is a horrific practice that is not only physically harmful to women but also one of the worst forms of oppression. How deep this rot has spread in the community is lucidly depicted in the movie. The men in the community are unable to think outside the traditions and the women, especially Colle, end up paying a steep price for them to learn and grow.
Some scenes in the movie were very powerful and disturbing - the female circumcision (the actual process happens off screen), the scene where Colle's husband f**ks her (she is cut), the climax and the denouement. However, the movie proceeds at a relaxed pace in tune with life in the community, and always has interesting things to say. I was fascinated by the culture and the people that were in the movie, outside of the issues of female oppression. The movie is also backed by strong performances, particularly from Fatoumata Coulibaly, who portrays Colle with an interesting blend of resolution and motherliness - a powerful performance in a powerful film.
DO NOT MISS! 9 out of 10
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